From the Archives: Google Book Settlement & Registering your Self-published Book

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.


[ Originally posted: August 18, 2009 ]

Perhaps you’ve been following news about the Google Book Settlement over the past few weeks. The overall implications of the deal are still unclear, with notable opposition coming from The Authors Guild and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

The details of the settlement involving copyright concerns and royalties first initiated through the Google Library Project in 2004 are a bit esoteric and apparently complex. Don’t be overwhelmed. There is no downside to registering your self-published book, so don’t miss the deadlines.

Outskirts Press has provided a step by step overview of the process in their most recent newsletter. Check it out here.

The good news, for most of us at least, is that the Authors Guild v. Google battle hasn’t rated the news much recently. During the battle, which lasted from “the filing of the case on September 20, 2005 to the Supreme Court’s denial of review on April 18, 2016” (that’s eleven years!), the internet was aflame with opinion. And in the initial aftermath of the initial settlement proposal in 2008 and again after the District Court ruling dismissing the case in favor of Google in 2013, tempers were hot. By the time the Supreme Court ruled in 2016 to uphold the District Court ruling, most authors had moved on, emotionally. Most of them had to.

You don’t win against Google if you’re the little guy, the results seemed to say.

Over at the Authors Guild website, they spin a slightly different story–and again, they probably have to, in order to maintain morale and keep up the energy to fight other battles, which they often do in defense of self-publishing authors as well as traditionally published authors. The fact remains–and is becoming increasingly hard to debate–that authors need to form alliances in order to protect their interests in a market that by its very nature lies open to exploitation and rapid evolution in ways that can undermine any one market’s profit base.

In short, all this is to say: the hubbub may be dying down, but we’ve learned a valuable lesson. Don’t hesitate to register your books, yes, but also … figure out who your allies are, and cultivate a few if you’ve started out solo. It will make a big difference down the road, if someone violates your copyright, for example, if you have a little weight behind your suit. Publish through a reliable self-publishing company (and of course I recommend Outskirts Press, after years working with the company) who is known to advocate for its authors. Put out feelers to join forces with other, local, indie authors. These may seem like small things, but they can have a very big impact later on, down the line.

google books
Google Books–a land of opportunity … and Copyright challenges.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog,

Self-Publishing Advice Update: Google Book Settlement

To opt in or out? With court developments arising last week, the implications, at least as they stood, may be moot.

The AP released an article last week noting the Justice Department’s, deem of the current agreement as a threat to give Google the power to increase book prices and discourage competition, though it said a renegotiated settlement might obey U.S. copyright and antitrust laws.

In his subsequent adjournment order, US District Judge Denny Chin noted that “the current settlement agreement raises significant issues, demonstrated not only by the number of objections, but also by the fact that the objectors include countries, states, nonprofit organizations, and prominent authors and law professors.” However, “the proposed settlement would offer many benefits to society, as recognized by supporters of the settlement as well as DOJ…if a fair and reasonable settlement can be struck, the public would benefit.”

If you’re published and chose to opt-in. Still writing and have this topic on the radar, this is good news. While the settlement probably won’t affect any of us directly, that we are taking the democratization of important materials into collective is a step in the right direction.

Have fun and keep writing

– Karl

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