BTW News Briefs

Judge Encourages Parties to Settle Google Books Case

At a hearing on July 19, Judge Denny Chin urged Google Inc., the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to reach a settlement in the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Suit. The lawyer for the Authors Guild asked for more time to reach a settlement or prepare for moving forward in the litigation, reported the Wall Street Journal. Chin responded that he was “a little bit concerned” about the amount of time the parties have taken to resolve the case. If a settlement isn’t reached, or isn’t close to being reached, by the September 15 hearing date, Chin threatened to schedule a trial and set “a relatively tight schedule for discovery."

In March, Chin rejected Google’s Amended Settlement Agreement (ASA) with the Authors Guild and AAP. Chin said that “while the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA would simply go too far.” The judge suggested the settlement would be approved if the ASA were changed from an “opt-out” to an “opt-in” settlement. Google is still opposed to the “opt-in” settlement.

Survey Shows More Book Clubs Using E-books

On July 18, Reading Group Choices (RGC) reported on the results of its 2011 Reading Group Survey, which found that an increasing number of reading group members nationwide are choosing e-books and e-readers over traditional print books. The survey was conducted online at and in a physical mailing from January 1 - March 25, 2011.

Results of the survey show that 25 percent of reading group members are using e-books, an increase of 10 percentage points from 2009. But, despite the growing popularity of e-books and e-readers, the study found that the vast majority of reading groups still prefer the printed book. Only 21 percent of those surveyed by RGC reported reading all, or even most, of their books on e-readers. Currently, romance fiction is the genre most frequently read in e-book format (60 percent of all titles purchased in e-book format.)  

Google to Provide Platform to Read Harry Potter eBooks

On July 20, Google announced that it was teaming up with J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore to integrate Pottermore with the Google eBooks™ platform. When the series of Harry Potter e-books launches in early October, they will be for sale only through Pottermore. However, purchasers will be able to read them via the open Google eBooks platform. Google eBooks will not be selling the e-book, but it will provide the platform for readers to access their Harry Potter e-books. Google eBooks can be read on most devices with a browser, through the Google Books apps for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, and on more than 80 e-readers.

To further clarify this somewhat confusing arrangement, Pottermore will be the exclusive seller of Harry Potter e-books and digital audiobooks. Readers will be able to buy e-books from the Pottermore Shop, push them to their Google Books library, and store them alongside their other Google eBooks.