Publisher decides to pre-empt Google book scan project

As a library employee and lover of books, I’ve been following the ongoing ‘upload-the-books’ debate as closely as I have been able to, given time restrictions (y’know, full time employment, feeding myself, my online writing jobs and, of course, this here blog). Personally, I’m on Google’s side overall; the publishers trying to resist the future of content distibution sound to me like horse-buggy makers in the early 20th Century pleading for legislation against Henry Ford and his dastardly new contraptions. Progress happens, and these days it happens fast. Adapt or die…or worse still, be superceded and fade into bitter obscurity.

So, I was rather heartened to find a story about a publisher not just taking on board the overall idea of freely available content, but actually pipping Google to the post and doing it themselves. HarperCollins are making the full content of a new business book (‘Go It Alone! The Secret to Building a Successful Business on Your Own’) available on the author’s website, It’s in HTML format, not PDF, and is supported by advertising to recoup any assumed loss, as well as affiliate links for buying the hardcopy version. Apparently the navigation isn’t too hot, with an unclickable index. But hey, first little steps and all that.

This to me is not only good news for the ongoing progress of the internet as a platform for content (yeah, 2.0 is soooo last year, I know), but an interesting development on the side of the middlemen, the publishers themselves. Hopefully, when they see that this method of making content available actually does more good than harm, others will follow their lead. And hopefully the implementation will improve also. Fingers crossed.

Story found on TechDirt.

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