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Google: Download a Million Books for Free

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 20 comments

Feel like doing a bit of reading over the weekend?

Google yesterday announced that the company has released more than one million out of copyright, public domain books in the EPUB format. Google Books titles are already available in PDF form but the addition of EPUB means it'll be easier for users to read downloaded Google Books content on various different devices that support the format.

The announcement comes at a time when Google Books is facing investigations from both the Department of Justice and the European Union with regard to a deal made with the Authors Guild last October. A June report in the NYT says the inquiry is a result of complaints made by concerned critics who say the settlement would give Google an exclusive license to profit from millions of books.

The Authors Guild took legal action against the search giant after Google struck deals with major university libraries to scan and copy millions of books in their collections. While many of these were older books in the public domain, millions of others were still under copyright protection and the Guild said Google's scanning was “a plain and brazen violation of copyright law.” The Mountain View company maintained that the digitizing of these books represented a “fair use” of the material, however the two agreed to settle in a $125 million agreement. Google's $125 million was to go toward legal fees, establishing Book Rights Registry and at least 45 million for authors and publishers whose in-copyright books and other copyrighted texts had been scanned without permission.

Legal issues aside, anyone plan on downloading some of the EPUB content? Sony's latest ereader supports the format, which will likely make it an attractive option to those shopping around for a device to read all these Google Books on. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    ssalim , August 28, 2009 4:27 PM
    If they are still under copyright protection, why did the major university library agreed with Google on scanning their collections?

    Oh sure, don't help kids gain knowledge and education by reading library's public books online and at the same time saving gas going to the library and/or time going there.

    Stupid lawyers.
  • 10 Hide
    doomtomb , August 28, 2009 4:52 PM
    Informational books should just be public domain anyway. Authors and book publishers are still doing things the old-fashioned way. All this information is accessible via the internet anyways. Like my college forcing me to buy new editions of textbooks all the time just so the bookstore and the publisher can make more money. $150-200 for some books in just absurd. Save a tree, download the .pdf.
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    ssalim , August 28, 2009 4:27 PM
    If they are still under copyright protection, why did the major university library agreed with Google on scanning their collections?

    Oh sure, don't help kids gain knowledge and education by reading library's public books online and at the same time saving gas going to the library and/or time going there.

    Stupid lawyers.
  • Display all 20 comments.
  • -7 Hide
    Anonymous , August 28, 2009 4:31 PM
    Nevermind that they're out of print, although I suppose that all of these authors think that THEIR intellectual property is "special", and that they should be "compensated", despite the book being out of print and having an expired copyright(that's like 20 or 50 years?). 99.999% of all books out there are complete garbage anyways...
  • 3 Hide
    LORD_ORION , August 28, 2009 4:51 PM
    Do they have a zip file of all these books?
  • 10 Hide
    doomtomb , August 28, 2009 4:52 PM
    Informational books should just be public domain anyway. Authors and book publishers are still doing things the old-fashioned way. All this information is accessible via the internet anyways. Like my college forcing me to buy new editions of textbooks all the time just so the bookstore and the publisher can make more money. $150-200 for some books in just absurd. Save a tree, download the .pdf.
  • 6 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , August 28, 2009 4:59 PM
    I won't live long enough to read one million books.
  • 0 Hide
    kittle , August 28, 2009 5:47 PM
    Depends on what books are in this collection.
    If i can get stuff from my favorite authors (who are now mostly dead), then Id be interested.
  • 1 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , August 28, 2009 5:53 PM
    doomtombLike my college forcing me to buy new editions of textbooks all the time just so the bookstore and the publisher can make more money. $150-200 for some books in just absurd. Save a tree, download the .pdf.


    Very true. The other way is just as annoying as colleges all try to take advantage of textbooks. One professor which I took class from, always use out-of-date and out-of-print books. Since students can't get the book anywhere, they have to resolve the problem themselves. It would be much simpler to have those book of public domain available for download.
  • -1 Hide
    DXRick , August 28, 2009 6:17 PM
    doomtombInformational books should just be public domain anyway. Authors and book publishers are still doing things the old-fashioned way. All this information is accessible via the internet anyways. Like my college forcing me to buy new editions of textbooks all the time just so the bookstore and the publisher can make more money. $150-200 for some books in just absurd. Save a tree, download the .pdf.


    Don't be a hypocrite! You aren't going to college so you can give your work away for free.
  • 0 Hide
    Greg_77 , August 28, 2009 6:32 PM
    doomtombInformational books should just be public domain anyway. Authors and book publishers are still doing things the old-fashioned way. All this information is accessible via the internet anyways. Like my college forcing me to buy new editions of textbooks all the time just so the bookstore and the publisher can make more money. $150-200 for some books in just absurd. Save a tree, download the .pdf.


    Sure, you could get most information on the internet, but how do you know it is accurate. When writing essays, you need to be able to site a reliable source. Unfortunately, Wikipedia doesn't count. It takes a long time to write a text book, whose information also has to be sourced. Also, most text books aren't published, creating additional cost for the author. How would you like to write a text book for free? You may not agree with the price or the medium or the book (paper or digital), but that is a different story.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 28, 2009 6:47 PM
    If I could only download them!
    Where's the site?
    On books.google I don't find books in public domain!
  • 0 Hide
    FloKid , August 28, 2009 7:46 PM
    Yey that's awsome. I love reading computer books. I hope they scanned some of those. It's cool though that they payed the authors. Google has nuff money anyways :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 28, 2009 8:47 PM
    That would be great if you could download them all in an indexed database. Id snag a copy.
  • -3 Hide
    azxcvbnm321 , August 28, 2009 11:08 PM
    Yes everything should be free including your labor. People should just work for free, I mean they don't have anything else to do anyway other than sit around. Might as well be scrubbing my toilet while chatting with their friends on Bluetooth right?

    And because one person decides to give something away, that means everything should be free too. I had a friend who didn't want this almost new couch anymore a couple of years ago and I took it. Now that this couch is broken down, I was thinking of going to the furniture store and telling them that they should give me those couches they have for free. I mean I could find a couch on the street somewhere, they're all free anyway so why is this greedy store trying to sell me something that I got one time for free?

    Dude, I also remember that McDonalds had this free promotion a while ago for a small cup of their new iced coffee. Well it's pretty hot today so I went in there and asked for more free coffee, but they looked at me and said there wasn't anymore free coffee! Can you imagine that? It should be free, water costs almost nothing and neither do beans. Hell, I can get free coffee from my moms at anytime, coffee should be free.

    Which reminds me that I'm moving soon and the last time I moved, my friends all helped me for free. I've never had to pay anyone to help me move before, it was all free. I think movers should work for free, it's not like people have anything better to do. I can always find friends to help me move for free so I think I should be able to ask anyone off the street to help me for free too. I mean why are people wanting to be paid when I got this for free in the past?

    Humm, somehow I'm in college, but I don't understand why everything isn't for free. Maybe once I graduate from college, I'll understand why people want to be paid for work, even though in the past I've been able to gain from their work for nothing. You know, I have this friend who says that maybe those people who gave away their work were just being very very generous people and that I should be grateful, but I'm the one in college and I say that I'm entitled to whatever it is I want. I want it so I should have it for free. It's the people who want to be paid for work that are greedy, it's not that the people who give away stuff for free are generous.

    I'm in college and I'm outraged that I have to pay for anything. These professors, all they do is talk during class but they expect me to pay for hearing them talk! Well I've heard people talk before for free, and I always talk during class for free too, for some reason others don't like that and don't appreciate my free talking, but I do it anyway. Yet this professor is so greedy that he wants me to pay to hear him talk. Talk should be free. I'm in college and I'm educated so I'm more right--I'm not more stupider than you. The people who make fun of the educational system and the falling standards don't know what they are talking about. I'm in college and I'm smart, I'm not stupider than nobody. I'm more better than you. Everything should be free.
  • 1 Hide
    foldsomething , August 29, 2009 11:37 AM
    Quote:
    I'm in college and I'm smart, I'm not stupider than nobody. I'm more better than you. Everything should be free.


    ok, point taken... let's not try to insult everyone under the sun.
  • 0 Hide
    fwupow , August 29, 2009 4:30 PM
    What's wrong with just scanning them? As long as they don't publish the copyrighted works, I don't see a problem.

    Perhaps, the lawyers can sue them for looking at 'em sideways as well!
  • 4 Hide
    chriscornell , August 30, 2009 1:49 AM
    Will the books be bundled with Crysis?
  • 0 Hide
    almostdecent , August 30, 2009 4:14 PM
    Cool, more books for my Pocket PC.
  • 0 Hide
    masop , August 31, 2009 1:43 PM
    chriscornellWill the books be bundled with Crysis?


    LOL!
  • 0 Hide
    tanderskey , September 1, 2009 2:49 AM
    fwupowWhat's wrong with just scanning them? As long as they don't publish the copyrighted works, I don't see a problem.Perhaps, the lawyers can sue them for looking at 'em sideways as well!


    on the one hand "just scanning them" begs the question "for what?" also, copyright notices on published material often have something about not reproducing, storing or transmitting too. i'd guess scanning counts as storing and that's partly why the Googlers paid the fine.
  • 0 Hide
    Blessedman , September 2, 2009 5:25 PM
    I must agree on some points that yes these authors spend a lot of time getting this information together for textbooks, maybe if our governments really cared about the future of this planet they would pony up the dollars and give these books away so everyone can learn from them. Education is one of the most important things in the world and yet if you don't have the money you don't get one... Now that truly is ignorant. I agree with google's ideology of "Easier to ask for forgiveness then permission". Plus everyone keeps crying about the authors, what about the copyright lawyers? If people didn't violate these laws those poor guys would go hungry, we need more violators! Everyone start scanning their textbooks and emailing the PDF's to everyone they know and we will make it like a chain letter. Until it all becomes futile to try and stop the movement!
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