Random House is looking to join the ground breaking book-search project run by Google. The project will see Google scanning books and making them available online. Currently Google has agreements with more than 10 000 publishers.
The availability of the online books is dependent on copyright restrictions, and the individual agreements that exist between the publishers and Google. Currently Google makes the books partially available online. The full version is available from the publishers, for a cheaper price than the hard copy version.
Random House has until now, delayed joining the program, which is in part due to the legal proceedings against Google, which Random House still supports. The legal dispute is a result of Google scanning published books that were still under copyright, from its US library partners. The lawsuit “aimed to stop Google from scanning in-copyright works it gets from its library partners without explicit permission from publishers.”
Regarding the partnership, a Random House spokesperson said, “Random House continues to have periodic constructive conversations with Google on issues of mutual relevance.”
Once the copyright and publishing issues are resolved, the partnership should go ahead. This would give Google access to the book catalogue of the world’s largest publisher. So far, Google has digitized more than 1 million books. The number of books in the world is unknown however global library collective WorldCat has more than 91 million bibliographic records in its database, the biggest of its kind.