6,500 authors opt out of Google Books service

Google Books - not every author's cup of tea
Google Books - not every author's cup of tea

Six and a half thousand authors, living and dead (via agents), have opted out of the Google book settlement, according to papers released yesterday.

The authors had until 28 January to opt out of the revised settlement prior to the ruling last week that would allow Google to digitise many millions of books. However, the judge received over 500 written submissions, forcing him to delay his ruling.

Among the big names still alive who've said no thanks are Jeffrey Archer, Graham Swift, Monica Ali, Bret Easton Ellis, and Philip Pullman – a litany of big sellers and prize winners.

Novelist Marika Cobbold said: "It would be like handing over my babies to a babysitter I'd never met, [and] I couldn't understand what was in it for me. I love Google, and in principle making information accessible is wonderful, but things are moving so fast, and authors are losing so much control over what we've done, that my fear was who knows, in five to 10 years' time, how this information could be used?"

The opt-out list was put together by Rust Consulting. A little over a year ago the company set up a call centre to field the opt-out requests as well as a website in 36 different languages.

Opting Out

As of the start of this month, Rust Consulting had received 42,604 replies via the website, and 1,846 hard copies. These covered over a million books and 21, 829 short stories and articles. Many of these responses came from publishers and literary agents.

Which would explain how Rudyard Kipling, Roald Dahl, and H G Wells have all managed to opt out, along with TH White and the late vet James Herriot.

Via the Guardian