Google's plans to digitize libraries of books has come under fire from publishers eager to protect copyrights; however, publishers participating in Google's Book Search Partner Program are seeing a significant benefit. According to Reuters, publishers participating in Google's book search and Amazon's Search Inside programs are benefiting from additional sales:
"Google Book Search has helped us turn searchers into consumers," said Colleen Scollans, the director of online sales for Oxford University Press.
She declined to provide specific figures, but said that sales growth has been "significant". Scollans estimated that 1 million customers have viewed 12,000 Oxford titles using the Google program.
Specialty publisher Springer Science + Business reported sales growth of its backlist catalog using Google Book Search, with 99 percent of the 30,000 titles it has in the program getting viewed, including many published before 1992.
"We suspect that Google really helps us sell more books," said Kim Zwollo, Springer's global director of special licensing, declining to provide specific figures because the company is privately owned.
"Our experience has been that the revenue generated from Google has been pretty modest, whereas the Amazon program has generated more book sales," Penguin Chief Executive John Makinson told Reuters at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week. (Quotes from Reuters)
These examples highlight the importance of open marketing that lets people see some of the content prior to buying. In many cases, showing some of the book can generate interest in a book that would not have otherwise caught someone's eye. It also gives people the opportunity to see what they are buying, mirroring the brick and mortar book buying experience of leafing through a book. Hopefully, this trend will continue, thus giving buyers more information about potential purchases leading the way for Google and others to find similar opportunities to add value outside of the book market ... who knows what Google might come up with next.