Hachette Livre has come to an agreement with Google that will see the giant search engine digitise the publisher's out of print books in France, bringing to an end a long-running dispute stemming from Google's vast book digitisation project. The deal will now be subject to six months 'fine-tuning', and will also be made available to other French publishers.The story only got more interesting this morning when The BookSeller revealed that Google is in talks with (unnamed) UK publishers:
Google is in "notional" talks with UK publishers about a digitisation deal, the internet company has said. Speaking at the press conference to announce its agreement with Hachette Livre over book digitisation, the business also reiterated its view that its e-book platform would launch "shortly" with hopes it would be up and running across Europe by Easter. Google said Hachette had already signed up with Google Editions for the US.
This story only gets more interesting when you recall how Google Books was defamed only 18 months ago. It was this terrible evil thing that was going to put all publishers out of business. There was talk of how women were being stampeded and cattle raped. Emotions were running so high that I recall a news article about how one publisher's rep at a trade show left his booth to go steal a laptop from Google's booth. He did this in retaliation for Google Books "stealing" everyone's books. The laptop was returned, of course.
Still, look at how things have changed.