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    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
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    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

Google Books, the future of the written word

My friends, the digital age is truly upon us! Modern technology has opened up new windows and given us access to worlds our ancestors could only dream of.

We have progressed to an age where some of us use laptop computers instead of notebooks to take down our professors’ notes. Others text message or Facebook their friends instead of calling them, and certain groups of us might even watch the big games streaming live online instead of making the trek to the stadium.

As we reach farther and farther into the future, pushing ourselves forward, we phase out some of our more antiquated and outlived technologies. Thanks to Google, hard copies of books might just start falling into this category.

Under the title of Google Books, the California-based tech company Google has scanned and uploaded somewhere in the range of 10 million books since Google Books came online in October of 2004.

Most of the works in Google’s database are out of print and no longer for sale at your local bookstore.

By giving the masses access to these hard to find and outdated books, Google is revitalizing novels and works of non-fiction which would otherwise have been lost to the machinations of time.

On top of this, the American people will have a much broader access to the written word, and will therefore be more likely to read and learn, especially if they can do so without ever having to leave home.

Through its scanning and uploading, Google has done a great service, not only to the authors of orphaned books, but to humanity as a whole. We are finally pushing to that point where all the wealth of human knowledge and creativity will be simply a keystroke away, and that is amazing.

But progress has many barriers.

Big technology companies like Yahoo, Amazon and Microsoft, some of Google’s biggest competitors, have formed a coalition to challenge Google.

They say the deals the company has struck with American publishers and the U.S. government give it an unfair immunity to copyright laws and, as a result, they believe Google has monopolized the market in regard to online books.

The way the laws and statutes to regulate this new field have been set up in the United States gives Google a lot of leeway in scanning and making the books available online.

As long as Google offers to share its profits with the original copyright owner and make some attempt to find that owner, they have free reign to scan and release, on the Internet, any out-of-publish book they can get their hands on.

Now there is a lot of credibility to the claim against Google. Google does have a big head start in the field, and it might indeed hold a monopolistic grasp on it.

I would like, however, to caution those other companies that are pursuing legal action against Google and encourage them to do so with the specific goal of keeping the market competitive in mind.

While things have gone fairly smoothly until now in the United States, Google faces many hindrances in Europe, where its deal with American publishers holds no water. As a result, much of what is scanned into Google’s cache is only available in the U.S.

With more obstacles popping up, Google might face serious setbacks in continuing with its project, and this is something we should want to stop at all costs. Google’s method of finding the original copyright holders and sharing its profits is a simplistic yet effective procedure.

Instead of fighting Google on grounds such as reader’s privacy and copyright infringement, its competitors should seek an agreement on sharing the already huge collection of books already scanned by Google and find a way to mold the industry into a competitive, yet open market.

We have a chance to achieve a new age during which a tremendous amount of information is available to us at the price of seeing a few advertisements, and all from the convenience of our own computer.

Let’s try not to squander it.

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