Google to bring out two million public domain books into paperback

September 18, 2009, By Thomas Antony

Google has signed a deal with OnDemandBooks.com, a printing and publisher firm which was the creator of the automatic “Espresso Book Machine”, to make available two million public domain books, from Google Books, as paperbacks .

Espresso Book Machine

Espresso Book Machine

The Espresso Book Machine can print, cut, bind and edge a 300-page paperback, with a full-color cover in around four minutes. Each machine costs around £85,000 but they are already available in about a dozen locations around the US and On Demand hopes to double that figure next year. The books like typical paperbacks, and are printed using 20- or 24-pound paper, with heavier stock for the inkjet-printed cover.

Over the last seven years, Google has scanned millions of dusty tomes from deep in the stacks of the leading university libraries and turned them into searchable documents available anywhere in the world through its search box.

Google will be offering each book at a price of $8 out of which $1 will go to Google and $1 to On Demand, the retailer earning $3, and the remaining revenue going toward covering the costs of materials and labor. The current deal will be limited to those titles whose copyright has expired. But if Google is able to win a court case currently being heard in the US, it will be able to scan and make available those titles whose copyright is unclear. This will expand the database even more.

Google recently acquired reCaptcha,  which uses user data in the form of CAPTCHA verification images found in many sites for optical decoding of scanned books into textual format. This should help them go ahead with their goal of scanning huge numbers of books and newspapers.

[Source: CNN]

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