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House Reviews Google Books Deal

Google's controversial settlement with book authors and publishers for its digital books project will received increased scrutiny as the House Judiciary Committee plans a hearing next Thursday, Sept. 10, on the issue. The hearing will be a review of competition in the market for digital books.

The settlement is already under review by the Justice Department and European regulators over whether it stymies competition as it allows Google access to millions of copyrighted book titles. U.S. District Judge Denny Chin will also review the settlement in an Oct. 7 court hearing in New York.

The settlement, struck last October between Google and some book authors and publishers in response to a class-action suit, has also drawn criticism by tech giants Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon. They have joined an alliance that opposes the settlement and argues that it would give Google too much dominance in the online books market.

Google and some author and publisher groups say the agreement would increase access to digital books, including out-of-print titles that are difficult to find. Critics say Google could increase prices for consumers who try to access digital books.

By Cecilia Kang  |  September 3, 2009; 10:10 AM ET  | Category:  Cecilia Kang
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I am glad a lot of attention is being paid to access to books. After all, it will impact how all of us get our information, especially books that have long been published. A lot of news organizations are also changing the way they provide content and that is a evolving model.

The slight irony is the reason I hesitate to get a Kindle is due to the closed eco-system of the Kindle system, which makes Amazon the gatekeeper in that case. I much prefer an open approach with no single gatekeeper to keep competition healthy.

Another irony is that Amazon does have an awesome MP3 store that is DRM-free with a large selection and often good prices. Yet that is a completely open format, which is preferrable.

On the note about Amazon, I recently came across an interesting table that details the discounts on Amazon.

It is at http://www.uberi.com

Maybe someone will find it useful too. While you are there, I would suggest checking out the "Amazon Filler Item" among other things there when you get a chance. It's quite amusing.

Posted by: john3k | September 3, 2009 12:47 PM

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