Google Library could pipe print publishers’ works into millions of homes; it’s a natural marriage of new and old media. So why are publishers fighting Google’s embrace? More importantly, how could they patch things up?
I think the main issue is money. Publishers want a piece of the action, but Google doesn’t want to pay.
Google could coax publishers into Google Library by allowing readers to buy pages of content online. Just like the old library photocopier, but on your desktop. To that end, Google would need to fashion a PayPal-like service.
So, I search and Google gives me an excerpt. I pay, and I see the page scan. Google and the publisher split my money, and everybody is happy. I dubbed this idea PageSense.
Fair Use Isn’t Enough — We Want Content
If Google wins the fair use battle, it will have license to index anything. (* Crowds Cheer *) Problem is, what good is a search result if it points me to an out-of-print book hidden in some monestary? Sound unlikely? Google suggests that 60% of the Google Library would be inaccessible content. The solution is to let me pay a quarter to see the page scan Google made. This quarter gets split between Google and the publisher. I’m happy, Google’s happy, and the publisher is happy.
Encourage Valuable Online Content
PageSense would also be helpful to web publishers. Today, web publishers can make a few bucks from ad revenue. So they publish content that maximizes this indirect reward — even web spam.
By creating a system that directly rewards web publishers for good, relevant content, you could expect to see an increase in valuable content online. It wouldn’t all be free. But you could see excerpts using Google and then pay for what you want. Win-win-win.