Library associations raise Google Book Search pricing concerns to DOJ


Jenni Terry

ALA Washington Office Press Officer

(202) 628-8410,

Prudence S. Adler

ARL Associate Executive Director

(202) 296-2296,

For Immediate Release

December 17, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) recently sent a
letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) asking for ongoing judicial oversight of the Google Book Search settlement, if approved.

The library associations urge the DOJ to request the court to review the pricing of the institutional subscriptions to ensure that the economic objectives set forth in the settlement agreement are met. Libraries, as the potential primary customers of institutional subscriptions, are concerned that the absence of competition could result in profit-maximizing pricing.

The associations also expressed disappointment with the DOJ’s failure to urge the parties to the settlement, which include Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers, to require representation of academic authors on the Book Rights Registry board. As the groups explained in their filings with the court and in their meeting with the DOJ, academic authors wrote the vast majority of the books Google will include in its database. Without representation of academic authors, the Books Rights Registry may establish a pricing model that maximizes profit rather than public access to academic works.