Since Google announced their book digitization plans we've read about a major book digitization project across Europe being lead by France and recently learned about some U.S. publishers having "issues" (at least as of now) with Google's library digitization program.
Today, the International Herald Tribune reports in the article: German publishers' Google challenge, that another large book digitization project is in the works.
...five-member task force of the German book trade association Börsenverein are organizing their own digital indexing project, Volltextsuche Online...The German project includes some publishing industry heavyweights like Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, a Stuttgart-based media group. But it still faces a test of membership reaction at a general assembly of the association on June 17 in Berlin.
According to the article, the German project is not about digitizing out-of-copyright materials but rather about providing access to titles that still have a valid copyright.
Remember, Amazon's "Search Inside the Book" program which went live months before Google Print is also working to provide searchable access to limited amounts (as determined by the publisher) of in-copyright books.
In this recent blog post I do my best to explain the differences between Google Print (limited access to in-copyright material direct from publishers) and the Google Library (full text of public domain material, limited content from in-copyright material).
It's also worth pointing out that Google is using different baseline dates for copywritten vs. public domain material inside and outside the U.S.
From the FAQ:
If you're in the US, we've taken a very conservative stance and only books pre-1923 will be considered public domain. If you're not in the US, only books pre-1900s can be considered public domain because of differing copyright laws internationally.
In two posts, (here and here) I point out that MANY other book digitization programs are going on both from disparate organizations( The Internet Archive, Project Gutenberg, numerous libraries, etc.) and from individual publishers (National Academies of Science, thousands of full text books, impressive search options) are also moving forward.
Finally, looking to find directories of some of the full-text books online, many that are free? Take a look at these directories.
Postscript: Two fee-based databases that offer the full text (searchable, now limit on how much you can read, download for offline reading) from thousands of technology books from O'Reilly, McGraw-Hill, SAMS, and other publishers that I haven't mention in the past are:
+ Safari Books Online
A free 14 day trial is available. Also, many libraries offer this service for free without having to visit the library.