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Google Books (previously known as Google Book Search and the Google Print project) is a large project to digitize the world's books. The Google Books interface provides a way to search the fulltext of millions of books and magazines that have been scanned by Google in their controversial digitization project. Previously known as "Google Print" and the "Google Library Project", Google Books has tried to work with publishers and libraries in order to create what they call a comprehensive, searchable, online catalogue of all books in all languages. Google's book project has scanned well over 30 million books. Google estimates that there are 130 million or so unique books in the world and plans to scan all of them by 2020. Results from Google Books appear in its books site, Google scholar and regular Google.
Google announced it would launch Google Editions (now Google Play) and compete head-to-head with bookselling giants Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers in 2010. However, it won't be a viable venture until Google's copyright dispute with publishers is resolved by the courts. Crew (2012) says Google's liability may rise to several hundred billion dollars. Once viable, Google Play will not require specific devices such as Kindles or iPads. While Google Books has digitized large numbers of journals, the digital files of scholarly journals have not yet been described with the metadata needed to identify each item. Google scholar has started its own digitization plan to host older journal articles pending agreement with publishers.
30 million books scanned
By 2007, Google had digitized one million books at an estimated cost of US$5 million. By 2008, Google said it had digitized seven million books including those scanned by 20,000 publishing partners. Of those 7 million, 1 million books are given "full preview" status based on agreements with publishers. A full one million books are considered to be legally in the public domain. Many scanned works are no longer in print or commercially available. In 2011-2012, Google announced that the number of scanned digital books in its collection is over twenty million volumes. According to Chen (2012), Google Books is able to find most books also in WorldCat. The “Find in a library” link to local libraries works most of the time but fewer than 10% of items in Google Books have free full views; 15% have snippets and previews, and previews are more useful than snippets. Google Books seems to index items it does not yet have digitized.
The number of scanned Google books is probably well over 30 million+ but scanning had slowed down considerably especially in USA academic libraries. Google is making steady progress of digitization several million volumes a year. Google estimates that there are probably about 130 million unique books in the world and intends to scan all of them by 2020.
Searching fulltext of books
Search the full text of Books at Google Book Search http://books.google.com/books
Browse books online
Books signify culture
In the monograph "Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View from Europe" Jean-Noël Jeanneney, President of the Bibliothèque nationale de France critiques the Google Book project. With a foreword from Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, the book is well-argued and places Google's project as a form of cultural politics and hegemony. However, Google's push to digitize has motivated the digitization of European print culture. Google Books provides an important building block of the digital future - so why the fuss?
When Google announced its plans to digitize the world's knowledge (15 million books from five major research libraries in the US and UK), Jeanneney responded with "When Google Challenges Europe" in Le Monde. His 'cri du coeur' became a book which was published as Quand Google défie l'Europe: Plaidoyer pour un sursaut. Even President Chirac endorsed his views and called for France to take leadership in book digitization. Jeanneney's cultural "call to arms" prompted increases in international collaboration in book digitization to counter what some see as the risks posed by Google. Jeanneney presides over one of the largest book digitization projects at the BNF <http://gallica.bnf.fr/>. He has been instrumental in mobilizing France and the national librarians of Europe to increase book digitization, launch a European Digital Library, and fund creation of an R&D program for search technologies.
Naturally, Google is not able to digitize everything and its selection of content favours American and English books over others. Its presentation of text is based on keywords and fragments them in culturally damaging ways; some librarians say its linking to advertising permits sloppy imaging at the expense of carefully executed efforts. Google promotes search results that are inconsistent with the rankings of scholars from cultures where the literature originates. Further, permitting a multinational company to own digital files does not represent sound archival planning and defeats efforts to encourage proper preservation approaches.