Google to rent books

The Wall Street Journal is reporting [sub required] Google approached at least one book publisher about an online book rental program.

According to this publisher, the books wouldn’t be downloadable or printable. Those features may be worked out at a later time, he said. Although this publisher said that the proposed fee to end users — 10% of each book’s list price — is too low, he said it still may represent a significant opportunity for publishers to tap the budding digital-book market.

This service would likely be tied in with Google Print, the service that makes text in books searchable. Google Print has faced lawsuits from publishers with copyright fears. Unlike hollywood or the music industry, book publishers already have all of their works available for free through local libraries. has a similar program in the works that will allow customers to get pages or chapters of a book online for a set per-page fee.


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