Google’s plan to digitize copyrighted books is under legal attack.
But the Internet giant is stepping up its PR offensive to convince consumers of the benefits wrought by its broader book scanning project.
Exhibit A: the Espresso Book Machine.
The machine itself is not Google’s; it’s the creation of On Demand Books. On Wednesday, the companies announced a deal giving On Demand and its Espresso Machine access to Google’s digital library of 2 million public domain titles.
Until now, the works digitized by Google were available only as digital files for reading on computer screens or electronic readers. With the Espresso machine, the companies say, consumers will be able to bury their noses in old-fashioned, hardcopy versions of their desired books – many of which have been have been out of print for years.
On Demand Books says it currently has 16 of its book-making machines at bookstores, libraries and other locations and plans to have 34 of the machines (which are priced starting at $75,000) next year.
The machine will only crank out books from Google’s archive with expired copyrights, which in the United States means they were published before 1923. Google is currently seeking court approval of a settlement with groups representing publishers and authors regarding its use of scanned copyrighted books.