Global Trade Talk: Google Book Settlement gets “Preliminary Approval;” Palin-mania; A “Verbrechen” Wave hits Europe

In Global Trade Talk by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka and Siobhan O’Leary

The Google Book Settlement has been given “preliminary approval” by Judge Denny Chin, who is overseeing the judicial challenge to its validity, reports Publishers Weekly. “A final settlement/fairness hearing has been set for February 18 at which Judge Chin will hear arguments to determine whether the agreement is ‘fair, reasonable, adequate;’ consider whether to certify the class for purposes of the settlement; and to make a determination whether to approve the agreement.”

Despite the move, there remains a great deal of confusion about what this means for publishers and authors. To this end the Copyright Clearance Center has continued to add to its ongoing series of interviews with various experts discussing the Google Book Settlement and today added one with copyright law expert Lois Wasoff. She asserts: “It’s … important to keep in mind that the underlying structure of the agreement and many of the economic terms of the agreement have not changed… If you think of the agreement as a tree, it hasn’t been chopped down, it hasn’t been replanted, the trunk’s still there, but the branches have been pruned so that the shape of the tree has certainly changed in some very noticeable ways.”

In addition, the UK the Publishers Association is hosting a seminar on December 1st to explain the changes to its members and others. For more information and to register, visit The Bookseller reports that experts are “warning” that the revised settlement still gives Google a “de facto monopoly” over orphan works—a big sticking point for many in Europe, who would rather see an opt-in approach than Google’s opt-out tactic (which is the very reason for the aforementioned de facto monopoly).

All said, books continue to sell. In particular, the US has been buzzing about Sarah Palin’s new book Going Rogue, which moved 300,000 copies in its first day, according to anonymous sources cited by The Book Beast. The book is selling so well that they’ve put another 100,000 immediately into print, bringing the total to 1.6 million copies.

Europe is probably watching with amusement at Palin-mania, and they are themselves transfixed by Verbrechen (Crime) by Ferdinand von Schirach, which was one of the hottest German novels at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair and has now been sold in over 20 countries, including France (Gallimard), the US (Knopf) and Spain (Salamandra). According to BuchMarkt, the debut novel, published by Piper, has already sold over 80,000 copies in Germany and is one of the most licensed German-language debuts of all time.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.