Google Books

Google Books is a Google search engine that enables you to do a full-text search in millions of books in different languages. In 2004 the company began the digitization of copyright-free and copyrighted books.

Digitization

Google Books digitizes printed books by scanning them. They are then made available for full text search using OCR software. In some cases, entire PDF documents were made available to Google for Google Books by cooperating publishers, which could be used either directly or once processed with OCR.

Unless you are a registered user you will not benefit much, non-registered users can view only a few pages for free. If you are logged into your Google account, you will receive a greater choice of pages. But even if you are logged in that way, you won’t be able to see everything. Additionally, usage is limited to a specific daily quota.

Dataset in Google Books

Since Google Books came online in October 2004, the dataset has increased continuously. Google Inc. has set itself the objective to provide at least 15 million books in digital form by 2015. The following libraries cooperate with Google on this digitization project:

  • Library of University of Michigan
  • Libraries of Harvard and Stanford University
  • New York Public Library
  • Bodleian Library of Oxford University
  • Libraries of the Universities of Virginia, Wisconsin-Madison, Princeton, California and Texas at Austin
  • National Library of Catalonia (Barcelona)
  • Library Universidad Complutense (Madrid)
  • Bavarian State Library (Munich)
  • Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon
  • Austrian National Library

Google Books app

Google Books is available in the respective app stores as a free download for Android mobile and Apple devices. You can browse, buy, and read millions of books with this application. More than 3 million free books and hundreds of thousands of purchasable books are available.

Legal issues

Only part of the publications in Google Books come from collaborations with libraries and publishers. Large parts of the dataset were and are being digitized against the express wishes of the affected publishers and authors in violation of the relevant, existing copyright. Therefore, considerable controversy resulted in the past and several lawsuits were filed against Google Inc. The settlement proposal called “Google Book Settlement” has gained excessive notoriety. Google wanted to come to an agreement with the parties concerned. The settlement provided for a financial compensation for affected authors and publishers whose books were monetized through Google Books. Any affected party that did not themselves withdraw from this proposed settlement was automatically included in it.

In November 2013, a US court came to the decision that Google Books is legally permissible because it serves the general public and all would benefit. German authors are, however, not affected. Google has already made concessions in accordance with European copyright.

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