Search engine giant Google has inked a deal with France’s largest book publisher Hachette Livre for its ambitious Google Books project.
Hachette, which dominates over a quarter of France’s publishing market, has agreed to allow Google to digitise tens of thousands of French language books, both in-print and out of print.
Google Books plans to offer the digital versions of the books from its Google Editions eBook store, The New York Times reveals. The company will start offering the eBooks by the end of the year, when it launches a French version of Google Editions.
The deal comes as several French publishers are engaged in a legal battle with Google. Publishers Albin Michel, Flammarion and Gallimard are claiming that Google illegally scanned their books without their permission.
The company plans to strike similar deals with other French publishers following the deal with Hachette. Google still has a long way to go before it strikes similar deals with US publishers though, after a judge threw out an agreement reached between the company and the publishers.
“We would love to implement similar arrangements with other French publishers, and it’s something that we have in mind as we talk to other partners,” said Simon Morrison, copyright policy and communications manager at Google in London told The New York Times.