Several writers I know have responded privately to my posts about the Authors Guild’s settlement with Google saying that they will stay in because they believe that the future of the book is electronic. And they want their books to be part of that future.
They’ve been misled into believing that those are their only choices: take the deal or have your work erased from cyberspace.
You can make a better deal. Google has one that’s ready-made for you, outside the settlement.
Your books will appear where they would have appeared if you opted in to the settlement. But this way, you keep all your rights. And you can even add a “buy this book” button to the display page of your book if you offer the book for sale at your own site.
Remember: Google wants to scan your books. Just because the class action attorneys gave Google all sorts of extra rights (taken from you), doesn’t mean you have to roll over and play dead. Turn down the bad deal. Take the better one offered by the Google Books Partner Program.
“The Google Books Partner Program is a free marketing program that enables publishers and authors to promote their books online, through Google Book Search. By submitting a digital or physical copy of your book to be displayed online, you’ll make it discoverable to Google users from around the world.”
And yes, you can earn income from this – Google shares the majority of its ad revenue with you – and it’s probably more than you would get through the settlement. That’s because, in the Partner Program, you deal directly with Google, instead of with the Books Registry being set up to administer payments from future revenues via the settlement.
Use this form to sign up. You’ll need to mail a copy of your book for scanning but you can cancel your account at any time.
Here are some of the benefits of the Google Books Partner Program vs the Google Books Settlement:
- You send your book to Google and request that Google scan and display the book but, unlike opting in to the settlement, you can withdraw from your relationship with Google at any time.
- You get the majority of the revenue from ads appearing on the same page as your book. Contrast that with the settlement where, although you get 63% of the profit, that may be less than you believe. Some experts, including literary agent Lynn Chu, speculate that as much as half the revenues will be used for administrative costs of the registry before you see your share.
- You can include a “buy this book” link as long as it links back to your site, not that of a third party, for purchase. So, if a preview hooks a reader’s interest, you get to sell the physical copies of your book.
- In the Google Books Partner Program, you don’t give up any of the rights, written into copyright law, that you now have.
- Unlike the settlement, you are not locked in for the life of the copyright.
- If something goes sour with Google, you aren’t forced into binding arbitration. You retain all your rights to sue in court.
- Anita Bartholomew