One of the many Mikes at Techdirt has an interesting post about how traditional bo publishers, uncomfortable with Google scanning and making searchable the content of all books have started to try to compete by offering excerpts of their own books--with a high level of restrictions on usage attached.
Techdirt thinks these efforts are pretty lame and I have to agree. Naked Conversations was not the first effort to use blogs in support of an authoring effort but it was the most comprehensive until that time. Our publisher John Wiley wisely went along with Scoble's plan (it scared Hell out of me at the start) to publish early drafts of the entire book on this blog. While there has been some scraping, by the bad guys, there has not been a single case that we know of involving the plagiarism that publisher's so dread. More important, while no one knows any precise figures of who influenced people to buy our book, my guess is well over 90 percent of sales have resulted from some connection with the blogging experience and sales have been pretty good.
While rumors that Scoble and I have become wealthy from naked Conversations are greatly exaggerated, Cory Doctorow, one of blogging's most brilliant bloggers told Forbes Magazine, "I've been giving away my books ever since my first novel came out, and boy has it ever made me a bunch of money."
It seems to me, that Google's scan will not hurt book sales, but will help them. Reading books on computer screens, or in Bubble Jet output form, is just not as good as in the book. One of our dirty little secrets about the Naked Conversations experience is that the actual chapters we published, were not as well read as the interviews or the daily banter on the topics we were covering. The chapters ran from 3,000 words to 10,000 words, and that is just too long for people to read on a computer.