At mediabistro.com’s eBook Summit today, Google Books product manager Brandon Badger spoke to a roomful of wary publishers about the search giant’s book search–a feature tied up in complicated litigation.
When asked about Google’s controversial preview feature, his answer was short and sweet: “We feel strongly that offering a small preview improves sales.” Discussing the lawsuit, he offered another short answer: “I believe it is moving forward.” He also stressed that publishers would “get a healthy cut” of the revenues from Google Books sales.
He also shared the top three searches on Google Books in 2009–a list that reveals a potential eBook audience that is searching unsuccessfully for more digital books. They were all Stephenie Meyer titles: “Twilight,” “New Moon,” and “Eclipse.”
When asked about Google’s perceived monopoly on book search, he replied: “Obviously with the scanning of library books, it’s something anyone can do. There’s nothing exclusive. We go in and check out the book just like anybody else. There’s nobody stopping other places from entering these agreements with them too. We’re open to working with lots of partners. We aren’t trying to squeeze people out here, we’re trying to be the glue that can stitch together the different parts…it will help everybody compete better.”