Google, Hachette ink accord on book scanning

Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:26am EST
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By Leila Abboud

PARIS (Reuters) - Google has signed an accord with France's biggest book publisher Hachette Livre on the scanning and sale of out-of-print books, which grants the publisher wide control over pricing and content.

The deal, announced on Wednesday, covers some 50,000 French language titles, including literature, academic works and reference books, and is unlikely to generate huge revenue for Hachette parent company Lagardere.

But it is symbolically important as publishers around the world seek to protect their businesses from being cannibalized by the Internet.

Hachette has often been aggressive in defending the book industry's business model against new Internet actors seeking to capture parts of the publishing value chain.

Earlier this year, Hachette withdrew some of its e-books from online retailer Amazon over a dispute on pricing, and the publisher also took a hard line with Apple over pricing of digital books on the iPad.

"We will control the price of books," said Hachette Livre Chief Executive Arnaud Nourry on a conference call. "This puts several years of disagreements with Google behind us."

For Google, the agreement could be a framework for deals with other European publishers, said Daniel Clancy, director of Google Books. Such talks have already begun, he added, without giving any details.

Google has clashed with book publishers worldwide over the book scanning project it launched in 2004 to create a universal library online.   Continued...