Google opens dialogue with book publishers
January 19th, 2007

The above title is from a ZDNet story about an event held yesterday at the New York Public Library. The main message, reported ZDNet, was: ‘To anyone who thinks digital content is a threat to the book-publishing market, Google wants to tell you two things: first, you’re wrong; second, its Google Book Search product is the solution, not the problem.’ Speakers included Boing-boing co-editor and science fiction author Cory Doctorow and Seth Godin. Both spoke to the value of making books available online for free:

“No matter how you look at it, free e-books make commercial sense,” Doctorow said in a speech describing his experience as a profitable author who has always distributed his books for free online under a Creative Commons license, in addition to selling them in bookstores and online marketplaces.

Fellow tech-savvy author and blogger Seth Godin, another speaker at the event, echoed Doctorow’s opinion that making content available for free online and letting it spread virally is ultimately helpful to authors. “By putting something into the grapevine and having the word spread, people are going to respond and pay you with something really valuable: their attention.”

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