Are Google book scans selling books?

As an author, I was highly skeptical when Google announced a year ago that it would start scanning books and making them available for search. Along with many other groups and organizations, it seemed like an obvious violation of copyright. The main problem is that Google, of course, places ads on every scanned page that someone sees, and authors get no share of that ad income.

But a new report suggests that the Google "service" might be increasing book sales. That is good news for authors, if it applies across most scanned books.

What we will never know is how much money Google makes from the ads. Selling a few more books (and the relatively small royalties authors receive) might be much, much less than the ad income Google makes. And unless Google is willing to openly share ad data and/or share income with authors, it is still stealing.

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