What price liberty? You can have it for free, with strings attached, or you can have it for $30 per book. Google and Microsoft say they want to make all of the world's information available to all, and why should anyone care if they make a buck or three on every search?
The search giants have been taking slightly different tacks to making books searchable. Google, the worldwide leader in search, is bull-rushing the issue, saying it will digitize every book ever written, regardless of whether or not it gets permission. It argues that merely digitizing the content doesn't violate anyone's copyright, and promises it will only display snippets of copyrighted text for fair use such as quotes used by scholars.
Microsoft is trying to be seen as more respectful of authors and other copyright holders, and has said it will only digitize books that are not protected by copyright, or books whose copyright holders have given Microsoft permission to do so. Both companies said they will digitize the books at no cost to the libraries and publishers who hold them, but both companies also require exclusive search rights on the materials they so generously digitize.