Friday, September 25, 2009

Google and On Demand Books Partner to Make Hard-to-Find Books Readily Available

I am certainly no expert on the whole controversy involving Google's efforts seemingly to digitize every book that has ever been in print. Publishers and Google competitors have been screaming about copyright issues and unfair business practices for months and even the U.S. Department of Justice has gotten involved in the situation.

But I have to admit that the new venture between Google and On Demand Books sounds plenty cool to me. PC World offers the details:
On Demand's deal with Google puts approximately two million public domain books from Google's digitized book collection--Google Books--into Espresso Book Machines, which you could then print off at your local library, bookstore, or coffee shop.

There's no official word on how much a single book will cost, but the Associated Press is reporting the average price will be about $8. Google and On Demand Books will each take a dollar from every transaction, and donate the rest of the proceeds to charity, the AP says.
Thursday's Google and On Demand Books deal is a perfect example of how technology can revive content that would be impossible to reproduce through traditional publishing channels. The only problem is that Espresso Book Machines are even harder to find than some of the titles Google has made available.

There are about 14 EBMs in permanent locations around the world, only five of which are in the United States.
This is the YouTube video that Google prepared to explain the new project:

I sure wish one of those machines would show up in Houston...

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