Google’s New eBooks

August 30th, 2006 |
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LOS ANGELES, August 30, 2006, (PodTech News) — Google has announced that consumers can now download public domain books for free in PDF format through Google Book Search. It’s all part of the company’s efforts to make the world’s books available online. While the convenience of finding so much information so readily may appeal to the many readers who will now have the classics at their fingertips, the news may not be so welcome for everyone. What will Google Book Search mean for independent booksellers dependent on the sales of used, old or out-of-print books? Doug Dutton is proprietor of Dutton Books in Brentwood. He spoke with Podtech’s Matt Kelly about the news.

Reporter’s Notes: While eBooks have been around for some time (Project Guttenberg has been digitizing books for 35 years), the new project takes on a different meaning when it’s accompanied by a Google watermark on every printed page.

My special thanks to Doug Dutton for his time today. For those of us in the Los Angeles area, Dutton Books is an institution, and it was a sad day for me when Dutton Books North Hollywood closed — it was operated by Doug’s brother Dave for decades. Although that store didn’t necessarily close solely because of market conditions, I can’t help but wonder what the impact of major chain booksellers like Barnes & Noble — and later online warehouses like Amazon.com — have played in the closing institutional shops like Dutton’s. And by the way, you can still find Dave Dutton, if you’re looking for him. Try Friday Harbor, Wash., part of the San Juan Islands.

— Matt Kelly

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