Hachette Livre signs deal with Google

The agreement for Google to scan out-of-print French language books for Hachette Livre has been signed, two months later than scheduled.

The five-year agreement should have been finalised six months after the memorandum of understanding was signed last November, but it was delayed until last week by technical hitches.

The pact confirms Hachette Livre will decide which titles should be scanned and which should be made available as e-books through Google and booksellers or for other commercial purposes, such as print-on-demand, the two companies said in a joint statement.

The scanned books, which potentially could total between 40,000 and 50,000, will also be entered into the database of the French National Library (BNF).
Google hopes to clinch similar agreements with other French publishers “to give a new digital life to many valuable French works that are currently unavailable,” the statement said.

A spokesperson said discussions were underway with other publishers, but declined to comment on how many were involved nor how advanced the talks were. She also declined to disclose details on how revenues would be shared and on what basis.

French culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand welcomed the fact the accord was “based on recognition of the principles of authors’ rights, and guaranteed control by rights-holders over the digitisation process and the sale price of works.” He added he attached “great importance to the conclusion of negotiations” between Google and other French publishers along the same lines.