Amazon to reprint UMichigan Library Books

This is big news and yet another important development in the Google Vs Amazon Book Wars (courtesy TechFlash) -

The online retail giant will do on-demand reprints of some 400,000 out-of-copyright books from the University of Michigan library, in a deal announced today.

prices ranging from $10 to about $45 depending on length.

Its important to note that these are not orphan works, the commercialization of which (Google’s Book Settlement) Mr. Bezos has criticized.

Amazon steals into Google’s Turf

The University of Michigan news service had this to say (short version: the books include books digitized by Google) -

The University of Michigan will make thousands of books that are no longer in copyright—including rare and one-of-a-kind titles—available as reprints on demand under a new agreement with BookSurge, part of the Amazon.com group of companies.

Maria Bonn, director of the U-M Library’s scholarly publishing office, said the reprint program includes both books digitized by the U-M and those digitized through the U-M’s partnership with Google. The initial offering on Amazon will include more than 400,000 titles in more than 200 languages ranging from Acoli to Zulu.

The agreement calls for a sharing of revenue between BookSurge and the university.

Google totally got snookered on this – they helped University of Michigan digitize these books, and now Amazon will help UM sell the books and share profits with UM.

Thoughts on the University of Michigan and Amazon agreement

 Just as B&N entering ebooks is great for the ebook market, Amazon entering the Library books reprinting business is great for customers and libraries alike.

This agreement indicates a few clear things -

  1. Amazon is serious about ALL the opportunities in book publishing.  
  2. Libraries realize that they have options and thankfully are not handing over all their assets to one company. 
  3. Libraries, thankfully, are not giving away their content for free.
  4. The fact that individual libraries could very well tie up with different companies indicates there might well be a lot more healthy competition.

Google ought to understand that they have created a very resourceful enemy.

Amazon is a much stronger foe than Google realizes – as this agreement with UMichigan highlights.

Google’s Do No Evil branding has been a huge advantage for them throughout. However, customers love Amazon (perhaps as much) and unless Amazon continues to take ‘1984’ type mis-steps Google’s altruism strategy is easily countered.

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