Or should it be "Google Takes Over The World, Latest Chapter?" Depends on how you look at it.
I almost put this on "Retrotechnologist," given that I am no fan of bookless books: Google's given a point-of-purchase printer access to its vast collection of book that are out of copyright; On Demand Books has a machine that'll crank out your book, bound and ready, in about five minutes. For those of us who like our books to be, well, books, this could be a real boon.
Google's also angling to get permission to reprint copyrighted works that are no longer in print; this may be a done deal (according to the link in this paragraph) or it may not (according to the first link). If so, the author gets a little check (or a big one, if the book suddenly becomes popular) and Google takes a cut.
As it stands, the instant-paperback machine sells for $100K (with E-Z Pay leasing available! Operators are standing by...), so you won't be having one at home or find them in the corner coffeeshop any time soon.
Flip side, you won't have Google coming to your door and taking your book back, either. And the flip side of that is, writers may continue to get nickle-and-dimed by publishers and shady reprinting joints. The more things change, the more they're same as ever.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
8 months ago