Google Books, Google Inc's (Nasdaq: GOOG) giant online library and search engine, has come to Israel. The goal is to allow online searches of Hebrew books.
Keter Publishing House Ltd. is the first Israeli publisher to collaborate with Google, which wants to sign agreements with other publishers to enrich its online library. Google said that, in addition to access to Hebrew books for surfers, the venture will give writers and publishers an opportunity to reach a wider readership.
The ambitious Google Books venture was launched in 2004, when Google began scanning millions of books worldwide into digital format to create a massive digital library. Readers can look for particular words or phrases in Google Books or in Google's search engine, and obtain full or partial results.
When a book is copyrighted, Google Books only displays limited text, alongside links to online stores that sell it. For books in the digital database under agreement with the content provider, Google Books displays the full text with an option to download the book in PDF format.
Despite the access Google Books provides to new and old texts, it has not been welcomed by the American Authors Association of the Association of American Publishers, which claimed that Google's scanning of texts was copyright infringement.
The parties settled after three years. Google agreed to pay $125 million to the two associations to create a database of copyrighted books, where authors and publishers can copyright books and receive royalties. However, the US Department of Justice was dissatisfied with the settlement, and the last word on the matter has not yet been said.
Google Israel VP marketing Riki Drori welcomed the launch of Google Books in Hebrew. "We're pleased to bring Google Books to Israel and we're certain that it will create an excellent opportunity for readers to share Israeli culture and heritage, as well as for authors and publishers to reach a wider readership."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 22, 2010
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