Google has reached an agreement with French publishers that will allow it to digitize thousands of rare, out-of-print books. The French Publishers' Association (Syndicat National de l'édition) and the French Author's Association (Société des Gens de Lettres) have dropped their lawsuits against Google and will allow the company to digitize portions of their repertoire while retaining ownership of the works.
This agreement represents a framework that Google hopes to extend to other nations and other publishers. While American authors coalesce against Google in a class action lawsuit, this agreement with the French is a win-win for both parties — Google Books can provide search results and context, while the publishers receive the proceeds if a purchase is made. While Google itself is no longer looking to be a book reseller, uniting the depth of knowledge entombed in books with the speed and convenience of the internet will be a boon to researchers and literary fans alike.