It took a multimillion dollar lawsuit, two years of tense negotiations, and an awful lot of scanning. But yesterday the publishing world stood on the threshold of a digital era after a US deal paved the way to transform publishing.
The agreement between Google and the US book industry means that internet users will soon be able to choose from and buy millions of titles, many out of print, or read them on a page-by-page basis.
After searching for books via Google, users will be offered free samples of chosen titles, with the option to buy more. Although it is as yet unclear how much books will cost to download, a royalty organisation, the Book Rights Registry, will take payments from Google (after it has taken a 37% cut) and distribute them to the authors and publishers.