Has Google Books Become an Afterthought in the USA?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

In the past year in particular, with the Google Books settlement all but dead, attention has waned.

By Edward Nawotka

Go back to the middle of the last decade and you would have thought that Google Books was a harbinger of doom. Publishers and authors alike were vociferous in their dislike of the project. But in the past year in particular, with the Google Books settlement all but dead, attention has waned and the focus has shifted to Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.

All the while, Google has continued to amass ever greater amounts of data, information and book content online. The service offers numerous features, not the least of which is the ability to preview far more of a given book than you can through Amazon or Apple.

I’m often surprised to see that more websitse and authors don’t link to Google Books — which offers numerous purchasing options — rather than linking just to a single source (of course, they may be motivated by having set up an affiliate program with a given site).

While I don’t buy my books through Google Books, I have found other uses for it. In my house, we use Google Books as our de-facto cookbook shelf, a source of classic literature for our children, and as a general reference library.

So tell us, how do you use Google Books? Do you use it as a source to acquire print books? E-books? Or as virtual library, as the service was initially sold to the public? Or, has it become an afterthought, one you forget to use in lieu of downloading books from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

In Europe, which doesn’t have nearly as competitive an e-book sales environment as in the United States, it’s a different story — as evidenced by the impact of todays’ announcement of the partnership between Paris literary magazine ActuaLitté and Google Books.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business exclusively since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.