Downside of Google and books

Todd Vandenbark

Book cover for "Technology in Libraries"What if an individual author wants to make their book freely accessible on the web? In a recent Library Journal website article, Roy Tennant, a leader in library technology, describes his struggle to make this happen.

Tennant recently published his book Technology in Libraries, and made it available for free online, as well as for purchase through  When he discovered it was on Google Books, Tennant tried to follow Google’s procedures for “claiming” his book and opening it all up for viewing. His book is still not fully available. As Tennant points out:

My point about this story is that you would think it would be in Google’s self-interest to make this easier for individual rightsholders to open up their content when they wish, but perhaps there are too few of us, or we are too inconsequential in the scheme of things.

In creating and maintaining user-friendly websites, it is essential that developers allow end-users to test each new version and all features before publishing. It is disappointing that Google, who transformed the web with its simple yet elegant interface, appears not to have arranged for testing of Google Books by authors who want to make their work public. Thanks to Roy Tennant for serving as a wake-up call to this corporate giant. Hopefully the road ahead will be smoother for succeeding authors.