Google is the world's most popular search engine, but it would also like to be your go-to destination when you want to read something other than webpages. In 2002, Google launched an ambitious project to digitize as many of the world's books as possible, and, as of 2019, it has scanned at least 25 million titles, borrowed from major university libraries. The only problem is, you probably won't be able to read them. While Google envisioned an age of unprecedented access to reading material, many publishers and authors thought that Google Books was simply putting their work online for anyone to read, without paying anything for it. The two sides finally agreed to a Book Rights Registry, but a federal judge blocked the deal on copyright grounds in 2011. The case was dismissed two years later, but the project hasn't made much progress since. The 25 million digitized volumes are now typically accessed only by researchers and librarians, who are allowed to read a least portions of the cache.
Read it and reap the rewards:
- The first book ever published was the Gutenberg Bible; it was printed by Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, in the 1450s.
- According to Google, approximately 130 million different books have been published.
- A University of Buffalo study found that people who regularly read fiction are more likely to empathize with others.