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The Great God Google

Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Wednesday, 01 July 2009 in Uncategorized

The following was received as a comment to a recent post:

 I'm reading "Planet Google" and came across the chapter on Google's 'book digitizing project." Out of curiosity I went into Google's book search and found most of your published books there. Wow! So does an author get any royalties? I wondered. The process of publishing, as you describe here, involves so much labor, of muscle and love, how does an author feel about seeing her work being given away so....freely?

I reprint it here because it may be of interest to others.

I am not particularly knowledgable about the details, but The Authors Guild brought suit against Google and the lawsuit has been making lawyers rich for a while.  They have reached a settlement which The Authors Guild (professional organization which acts as advocate and lobbyist for published writers) deems an equitable one. To participate in the settlement, authors like myself must file a claim by Sepember.  Sounds easy, right?  Wrong.  Nearly every day for the past two months I have gone to the website where such a claim may be made, thinking TODAY I WILL DO THIS. But after a few minutes I find myself whimpering and having a stomachache.

Filing requires listing every published book and its ISBN number. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It used to be a 10-digit number but starting 2007 it became a 13-digit number. For example, the ISBN for my newest Gooney Bird book is 978-0-547-11967-0. (see below)

ISBN

Okay. Sounds relatively easy.  I've written, I think, maybe 35 published books. So there are 35 ISBNs to locate and list, right? Wrong. Paperback ISBNs are not the same as hardcovers. Book club editions are different.  British editons are different.  Translated editions are different.  ("The Giver" is in 27 foreign editons, I think)

i am whimpering just writing this down.

And September is only two months away.


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