Friday, September 18, 2009

Google Goes Into Print with 2 Million Books

After five years of scanning books electronically, Google is entering the print publishing business.

Through an arrangement with a printing company, Google will offer 2 million out-of-copyright books that can be picked up or shipped from libraries, universities and other spots around the world. It has struck the deal with On Demand Books, makers of the Espresso Book Machine that can print a 300-page book in less than five minutes, complete with a cover and a bound edge.

The books published will have a recommended sales price of $8 per copy, although the final decision will be left to each retailer. On Demand Books will get a $1 of each sale with another $1 going to Google, which says it will donate its commission to charities and other nonprofit causes.

Millions more titles could be added to On Demand's virtual inventory if Google gets federal court approval of a class-action settlement that would grant it the right to sell copyrighted books no longer being published. Google estimates it already has made digital copies of about 6 million out-of-print books.


  1. I don't get it. They spend enormous time and money scanning millions of books. Then, when they have a chance to recoup their cost, they decide to donate the proceeds to charity?

    How does a business make a profit that way?

    Buy GOOG?

  2. @Taylor

    I think this is a case of being politically savvy. Remember the charitable deductions will be major tax writeoffs against their other income--so it will help after tax income, and it will result in their driving huge traffic to their book related web pages, where they have all those Google ads.

    I think it is genuis move for a company that has to operate in a politically sensitive area where a lot of do-gooders may be lurking.

  3. Neat. Except that for Google “charity” means Democrat funding and leftist pet causes.