Harry Potter & His Dark Materials authors reject Google Books

Best-selling authors J.K. Rowling and Philip Pullman, along with several other major British writers, are voicing strong disapproval of a financial agreement Google is offering authors to make their books available online, reports Times Online.

After settling a class action lawsuit in US courts, the internet media company has issued a plan to pay writers 60 dollars for each title that can be partially viewed online, with an additional revenue sharing option for any money made from its use.

Pullman’s agent Cardoc King characterized the offer as “clearly for the benefit of Google,” and Rowling’s legal representative at the Christopher Little agency said Google’s settlement attempts to “change US and international copyright rules.”

While Google Books makes free, unlimited viewing available for books that are out of copyright or no longer commercially available, the service has goals of offering wider access to more contemporary material through an online store. Because it has brokered deals with several major libraries, including those at Harvard and Oxford University, Google already has thousands of copyrighted publications scanned on its servers, which initially drew scrutiny from industry groups such as The Authors Guild of America. 

Now the question of which scans will be made available, and to what extent, is up for debate. Other authors considering a boycott of Google Books include Ursula K. Le Guin, Helen Oyeyemi, and Nick Harkaway.

Image Credit: Wired

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20 Comments

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still1 said,
Make it free. let everyone enjoy the free world

Stop working for pay. Just volunter your time and effort.

As far as Rowling is concerned, her garbage has already run its course and I doubt many will read her stuff anymore. After this generation, no one will even remember the sheep-hyped Harry Potter series. It has little literary merit, so I doubt it will stand the test of time. Pullman, however, is missing out on an opportunity. It's a shame he doesn't get more exposure. They don't make the entire book available on-line, so this would probably turn into sales for him if people use the service. Personally, I find it uncomfortable to read a book on a computer, though.

$60 per book? And then a tiny amount per view.

I don't feel that is fair on the authours, deffo now with ebook readers being released too.
Also books are meant to be read, not looked at through a webbrowser.

[wall of text tl;dr]
Not to go off topic, but I am seeing somthing that I dislike more often from commenters. That is the 'How Dare You Say No to GOOGLE' behavior. I first saw it when Yelp rejected googles offer to buy them, and i read all the comments where people wanted google to make thier own version of yelp and bury thhem for saying no, or that they were idiots because you cant go wrong with google. I personaly think its the right of the owner of any specific property to say no to whom ever they please as long as they hold the right.

This is where my personal feelings come into play. I dont trust google, there are too many places at once. They are in rapid succesion turning the internet to googles internet. and between apple and google we will havea2 party gated internet. If you want to get legitimate content you buy it through apple, if you want to search for information, and then google will send you to thier services where they get paid from ad'sor they will send you to the epaper version of the newspaper on itunes and get paid for that.

As long as i have power over mycontent,i will exercise my right to say no as often as loud as possiblle. If that means that some service comes up and usurps my position so be it, but i'm not for just handing over the keys because people tell me i should.

/hat='tinfoil'

Well personally I can't wait for Google to start selling books. I have already been reading some of their free books, and I like the service. In fact, I have even been using their "My Library" feature to mark some of the books that I plan to purchase when the service becomes available.

Fortunately Harry Potter is not on my list! But I hope we don't start seeing too many authors following with this crap.

The Authors are fighting a losing battle though.

J.K Rowling's books will be out of print eventually and the copyright will also eventually expire. Harry Potter will end up on google eventually...the question is...does she want to profit from it at all?

TrueMonolith said,
The Authors are fighting a losing battle though.

J.K Rowling's books will be out of print eventually and the copyright will also eventually expire. Harry Potter will end up on google eventually...the question is...does she want to profit from it at all?

Eventually? Somehow I doubt the copyright will run out while Google or us are still around.

Edrick Smith said,

Eventually? Somehow I doubt the copyright will run out while Google or us are still around.

Yeah, exactly. Last I checked a copyright was valid for 70 years after an author's death... So...

TrueMonolith said,
The Authors are fighting a losing battle though.

J.K Rowling's books will be out of print eventually and the copyright will also eventually expire. Harry Potter will end up on google eventually...the question is...does she want to profit from it at all?

lol, no.

M_Lyons10 said,

Yeah, exactly. Last I checked a copyright was valid for 70 years after an author's death... So...

Do you think Google will murder all the authors who refuse the deal? :D

If I were a ghetto trash single mom like J.K Rowling who one day turned millionaire, I wouldn't want to share my money with anyone either - I don't blame her.

abtm said,
If I were a ghetto trash single mom like J.K Rowling who one day turned millionaire, I wouldn't want to share my money with anyone either - I don't blame her.

+1
oh yeah ! :D

abtm said,
If I were a ghetto trash single mom like J.K Rowling who one day turned millionaire, I wouldn't want to share my money with anyone either - I don't blame her.

+1 nicely put

this was meant to be put up top....my bad

Edited by wererwerwerwerwerwerwer, Jan 29 2010, 10:03pm :

Read the entire article.

...Pullman’s agent Cardoc King characterized the offer as “clearly for the benefit of Google”...

The only smart thing to do is reject the idea.

C_Guy said,
Read the entire article.

...Pullman’s agent Cardoc King characterized the offer as “clearly for the benefit of Google”...

The only smart thing to do is reject the idea.

OMG someone other than the author making money?

Edited by Anibal P, Jan 29 2010, 1:18am : spell

z0phi3l said,

OMG someone other than the author making money?

Hm... Off the top of my head, generally the author, the publisher, the editorial staff, and the retailer all share a piece of the revenue generated from a book... Sounds like people other than the author making money is a bit of the norm here... The issue however is that they do still deserve to be compensated for their works. If Google wishes to get this off the ground, they are going to have to take a smaller piece of the pie. A much smaller piece of the pie. Why should Google benefit so much off of other's works because they scanned it and put it up online? That's ridiculous.

z0phi3l said,
Greedy morons can't see the good this would do for them
I don't see how anyone can bash JK and the rest for this when we don't know what % cut they earn from the revenue. The $60 just sounds like a one off payment, the cut they get for actual purchases could be a pittance compared to what they earn through traditional mediums, so they could actually lose money in the end.