Google Books

I’m nearly done with Steven Levy’s excellent history of Google and it’s got me thinking about Google Book Search/Print/Books and the settlement with the Authors Guild and APA.  I don’t want to get bogged down in the details of Google’s initial effort versus it’s eventual settlement because I think another important element is often overlooked when discussing these issues: the untapped market of digitized books only existed because academic and public libraries fell down on a massive scale.  Sure, the project was and is expensive but it falls so clearly in the domain of what as a society we want our libraries to do.  Libraries are going to pay the price for many years to come for their repeated and continuing failure to get out in front of the changes of the digital era.

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