Tuesday, November 15, 2005

News In Brief 15 November 2005

Google May Come To Terms With Publishers; Will Digitize Cliff Notes Only

Response To 'Bazooka Joe' Strong; Customers Want Shorter Read, Synopsis Over Full Text

Google announced today that they have come to an agreement with Cliff Notes, to digitize the entire catalog of the popular literature study guide series, as an effort to ward of the growing number of lawsuits from publishers.

Major publishers, including McGraw-Hill, Wiley, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster have joined the Authors Guild in filing suits to block Google, and their programs, Google Print and the Google Library Project, from moving forward with the digitization of their works and collections.

Major libraries, such as those at Stanford University, Harvard University, Oxford University, and the University of Michigan, as well as The New York Public Library have signed on with Google.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, in a brief statement released, said that he was "pleased" to come to terms with Cliff Notes and "looking forward to bringing their content to the digital world."

There's more to the Cliff Notes deal than Google is letting on, according to John Ruffing, editor of a the newsletter 'Did You Mean Everything?', that monitors Googles activities.

"After all the fuss to develop Print and the Library Project, the months of research, software development and testing, Google discovered that people want less, not more, as to print, books, etc."

Ruffing says Google's offering of the Bazooka Joe Comics, which they digitized earlier this summer "has gone through the roof".

'They've come close to crashing the Google system for Bazooka Joe, and that says something," said Ruffing. "Follow-up research, much to Google's surprise, kept coming up with people wanted less, not more, to read."

Ruffing says that the Cliff Notes deal may pave the way for the publishers and authors to, eventually, come on-board.

'If I'm a published author, do I want someone quoting me, or Cliff Notes?"

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