European book market is in Google's sights

Europe is in Google's sights as it rolls out its Print programme in multiple countries

Google has launched the first local language versions of its Google Print programme in eight countries around Europe. Previously, the controversial application had only been available in English.

Google is making versions available in France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Spain that will allow users to search across collections of books in the local languages. Initially they will be available as beta projects from Google Labs.

Book results will also be integrated into Google search results pages in these countries and shown when a user's query is relevant to a book. The company is hoping to woo book publishers by incorporating a facility for users to discover books relevant to their query. They are then directed to an area where they can find ways to buy the book online at suitable online book stores.

Google has already launched publisher programmes in France, Italy, Germany, Holland and Spain that enable publishers from those countries to submit their titles to the Google Print programme. The company has met some opposition from book publishers. In August it suspended plans to "scan the world's books" when it was faced with opposition from publishers.

In September, a group representing more than 8,000 authors filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that its scanning and digitising of library books constitutes a "massive" copyright infringement.

As part of this effort, the Google it taking a big presence to this years Frankfurt Book Fair as it hopes to convince publishers that it can work with them and will be answering questions abut its actions from publishers and authors alike.