WSJ: Google Print is good for writers:
Today’s Wall Street Journal has a great editorial on why Google Print is a good deal for struggling writers (and, by implication, why the Authors’ Guild lawsuit against Google is so foolish):
Many a frustrated author can tell you that being published is just the start of the dream of making it as a writer: If your publisher doesn’t back your book, or it doesn’t quickly connect with the reading public, it’ll soon fall out of print and very few people will ever hear of you or your ideas again. That’s exactly the frustration that’s driven many writers to the Web, where anyone can publish and be guaranteed a world-wide audience for his or her thoughts.
But it’s not the Web itself that makes that guarantee — it’s the search engines that tame the Web’s terabytes upon terabytes of information by making it all searchable. Google Print could bring those same advantages to all the book world’s frustrated and forgotten authors, putting their ideas before a limitless audience that could then buy their books. That seems like something any author or publisher would want — and Google is willing to do the work for them.
Of course, Google isn’t “just” a search engine — it has ambitions far beyond that. Publishers and authors should keep their eyes on Google Print, and if Google steps beyond what “fair use” allows it to do, the law will be on their side. But for now, authors and publishers have far more to gain than they have to fear. Here’s a core value for them to adopt: Don’t be short-sighted.