Google Books which were previously commonly known as Google Book Search and Google Print is a Google Inc service that searches the full text of the books that have been scanned by Google, converted to text by the use of optical character recognition, and then stored in their vast digital database. Most of the scanned works are no longer in print neither are they commercially available. For those, which are in print and are commercially available, the links are provided by the site, which shows the website of the publishers and booksellers.
The question of book digitization project, many different authors have differed in their opinions concerning the same. Their different opinions revolve around the following major statements; The purpose of the digitization project and character use which questions whether the project is for a commercial use, the nature of the work that has been copyrighted i.e., is it fact-based or more creative, the amount and substantiality of the part used; and the result of that use on possible markets for the work, or its value.
Some authors claim that the issue raised by Google Print, is all about the practice of scanning books that are stored in libraries, without the authorization of the author holding copyright in the books translates to copyright infringement.
Other authors criticize the project on the grounds that Google possible misuse and manipulation of search results, the use of others’ intellectual property, concerns that its collection of data may violate people’s privacy, censorship of results and content searched, and the energy usage of its servers as well as concerns on traditional business issues which are antitrust, restraint of trade and monopoly.
Serious controversies amongst authors have been raised not only about diverse aspects of the future of the Internet but also over the issue of making knowledge private. These concerns have led to stakeholders in the industry doing more in terms of finding new ways of making the web experience a lasting experience. Knowledge is an important medium, which should be given a chance to thrive. This makes it essential for companies to invest more in the knowledge acquisition strategies.
Those authors who are in favour of the initiative, have highlighted the astonishing achievement of Google, allowing people to access books more easily than it had happened before in human history though the other side of authors claim that this could be very dangerous.
Likewise, some authors have joined the chorus complaining about potential issues that are about antitrust .The authors claim that that they cannot let the inventory of all books landing on monopolists who will in turn dictate the prices and decide who has the right to access particular books (Milstein, Biersdorfer & Macdonald, 2006). In addition, the move by Google to make access to information easier has been of great help to the readership community and other likeminded organizations. The question of monopolizing the market by various quarters concerning Google has not received overall support from a number of market players who hail the move as healthy competition.
Some authors claim that there are benefits that come with the digitization projects. According to the authors, Google is giving new opportunities for publishers and authors to sell their copyrighted work. This is possible because purchasers can browse their books online, view some of the sample pages, search for content that they have selected, and then purchase them. The people who are doing research can access many collections of books from some of the libraries in the world that are most renowned. This strategic move by Google has in real sense brought a new wealth of experience to the market. This company has done the right thing in terms of creating a healthy market, which recognizes the operation of the market. The decision by the company to introduce a new approach in doing business has been of great help in making a once stagnant market more vibrant.
Scholars also have a free access to online books viewing them in digitized form. This is possible as there are computers that are designated in certain public and university libraries all over the world. The question of digitizing books has made it convenient for scholars and other users of information to access books at their own ease. As compared to the previous modes of learning, this new digital mode makes learning an experience worth it.
In my own personal opinion, I believe Google’s ambitious plans and strategies to scan millions of books and make them accessible through its search engine have heavily been criticized for copyright violations (Lowe, 2009). This criticism has not stopped the company from undertaking other developments in terms of market expansion. The company has an ambitious plan of expanding its market base by reviewing the needs of the market from time to time. It should be understood that the company has taken some time to understand the market and make changes where necessary.
They claim that this is now possible now but was difficult to obtain before. Libraries and users will also benefit from the archived of published works that has been created by the database, which will in turn provide a backup for hard copies in case they are destructed by fire or otherwise. Indeed, authors and publishers are some of Google Print’s primary beneficiaries.
Backlist titles comprise the enormous number of books in print and a large part of many publishers’ profits, but just a fraction of their budgets that they use in marketing. Google Print will allow such titles to live forever, just a one search away from being found, accessed and purchased online. Therefore, the benefits of that arise from Google digitizing books outweighs by far the other side by far. At least every party that takes part will have something to reap. I therefore strongly support the process that Google had undertaken to digitalize books.
The process of digitizing books is a concept, which has revolutionized the entire market in the sense that learning has become an easier and convenient process, which takes into consideration the needs of the learner. The learner is given a chance to exercise his thinking skills by embracing new ways of learning which in real terms are essential to knowledge acquisition. The question of having a conservative approach to learning has lost ground in the modern world and from the look of things, more is to come in terms of gaining access to new ways of learning and obtaining information.
Lowe, J (2009). Google speaks: secrets of the world’s greatest billionaire entrepreneurs Sergey Brin and Larry Page. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Milstein, S, Biersdorfer, J. D & MacDonald, M (2006).Google: the missing manual. New York: O’Reilly Media, Inc.