Google has inked a deal with Hachette Livre, France’s largest publisher, that will allow Google to upload and provide access to thousands of out-of-print books to its digital forum. Those e-books are expected to be available at the soon-to-be-launched French version of Google Editions by the end of the year.
The key point to this deal is that Google doesn't have full power here. The New York Times reports that Hachette "retains control of which books can be scanned and sold by Google, just as it does with copyrighted works that remain in print."
At first, it looks like the tide is turning for Google's digital publishing goals. However, that is definitely not the case as at least three other French publishers are filing lawsuits against Google.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based corporation has suffered a number of setbacks, mainly over copyright issues, both in the United States and France, among elsewhere, when it comes to digital publishing. For example, in 2009, Google was convicted of violating France’s copyright laws for publishing excerpts of books without permission of the copyright holders.
Additionally, Google is still fighting in U.S. courts over scanning and uploading books that are out of print but still protected by copyrights.
Nevertheless, Google Books recently secured another major victory of sorts in July as famed Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and her new Pottermore project will bring the digital versions of the wizarding series to consumers via the open Google Books platform this fall.
Google Books is supported on many different mobile devices ranging from smartphones to tablets and e-book readers. Some examples include anything running iOS 3 or higher, Android 2.1 (Eclair) or higher, and even the Nook and Kobo. However, the Kindle is not included in the bunch at this time.