Google Offers Amazon a Place in Book Empire


The ongoing furore over Google’s Google Books service and its practical monopoly on web based scanned of published works continues, with Google offering its competitors something of an alliance.


CNet is carrying the story that Google Books has made a fairly compelling offer to its competitors. According to the deal suggested by Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble – those most offended by Google Books’ apparently unassailable position – have been offered the right to sell books supplied by Google Books in their respective online catalogues, with Google seeing 37% of the revenue attained from those sales. That 37% would then be divided, with the seller receiving the lion’s share.

Strangely enough, Amazon declined the offer, saying instead that, “The internet has never been about intermediation. We’re happy to work with rights holders without anybody else’s help.” The big problem for Amazon now is that it has to try to avoid being cast in a negative light in the face of Google, a company that, in the eyes of many, can apparently do no wrong.

That said, a significant amount of the tension surrounding this case comes from Google’s agreement with regard to so-called “orphan books” – books for which the relevant copyright holder cannot be found. According to current agreements in place, Google has apparently attained the right to host “orphaned books.” That’s a situation that could be particularly hard to come out of looking good, even for Google.

Of course, the quiet part of this whole business is that Amazon’s Kindle is now in a bit of a sticky position when it comes to the digital reader market. Sony recently secured a deal with Google Books for its Reader line, adding literally millions of books to its catalogue, while at the same time adding more than a million free books to those already available. That’s a catalogue one would imagine Amazon would be very pleased to add to its Kindle, but it seems in no rush to do so.

If you’re at all interested in the ongoing case against Google and Amazon’s position on orphaned books then you should certainly check out the CNet article on the two.


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