Many of us were disappointed last night during the Google-brary panel that Barbara Quint’s telephone contributions were so faint. So, she obligingly sent me some notes to post with her take on the topic at hand—here’s her year 2020 scenario.
Way back in 2006, Google — irritated at those lawsuits from the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers — set up Google Press. It then urged the authors of the world to check their publisher contracts, find the books that had gone out of print with publishing rights, come back to the authors and send copies of the books (or the ISBNs to match with Google library holdings) to Google Print. In return, Google would promise to delivery saleable e-books back to the authors and direct all interested users to them for sales — no royalty percentage, ALL the money for the sale.
Five years later (2011?), Google Press had become Google Full Court Press with imitator services available from the Open Content Alliance, Amazon, et al. Print-on-demand services and outsourced editorial staffs had made Google a major new avenue for book authors. All libraries received one free access seat for all books in the program, plus one free P-O-D copy on request. Book publishers were scrambling to hang on to their authors and re-negotiating royalty payments as all authors gained leverage from the developments.