February 15, 2006

Google book search

And speaking of BoingBoing, Cory Doctorow has a very long post on why Google Book Search is a very good thing for both books and publishers. Now, I often don't agree with many of Doctorow's pollyannaish posts on the great technogeekrapture that awaits us all if only we were smart like him, but on this issue he is dead on. It mystifies me why publishers and authors wouldn't beg to be indexed by google as much as humanly possible. If you want to sell your books, the very best way to do that is if people can find them. Only then can they decide to buy the darn thing. If a little snippet of the text can help them to make the purchase decision, so be it. Is there some possibility that Google's system could be hacked and some people could get access to the full text? Could Google's corporate status change and the full text fall into the hands of owners that weren't as concerned about copyright? Sure, both these could happen but that's no reason to prevent something terrific from happening. As Doctorow and many others proclaim, obscurity not piracy is the author's real enemy.

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