Paul Courant’s post in response to Roger Darnton’s New York Review of Books article says many of the things I have tried/wanted to say about the Google Books settlement more clearly than I ever could.
Key quotes from Courant:
In short, over the last decade and more, public policy has been consistently worse than useless in helping to make most of the works of the 20th century searchable and usable in digital form. This is the alternative against which we should evaluate Google Book Search and Google’s settlement with publishers and authors.
Of course I would prefer the universal library, but I am pretty happy about the universal bookstore. After all, bookstores are fine places to read books, and then to decide whether to buy them or go to the library to read some more.
Read the whole thing, and read the comments thread.