Today I went to a talk by best-selling author Neil Gaiman. There was a question and answer period. Someone asked for Mr Gaiman's take on the recent Google Print kafuffle. (Some authors did not deign to fill in the little "Please don't index my book" web form, but instead filed a lawsuit against Google.)
He raised some interesting points, including one I hadn't heard before. It's not just the danger-of-piracy vs. searchability-equals-higher-sales trade off. There might be some books which the rights holder doesn't want found at all. Back when he was young, unknown, and needed money, he wrote a book about the band Duran Duran. He is not proud of this work. He does not want any more copies of this book to sell. He wishes it would go away. (I'm interpreting what he said; perhaps I'm exaggerating.)
A couple of hours too late, I realized the solution to this problem. The embarassed author's best friend is: Google Purge.
Disclaimer: I do not speak for Google. I only speak for myself.
Labels: books, mad science