This Reuters article out of Germany: Publishers to build own online book network, comes as no real surprise. Why? Back in June, we blogged about a trade group of German publishers considering their own book digitization program. It looks like what was discussed several months ago is now a go.
The German association of book publishers is planning to build a network by next year that will allow the full texts of their books to be searched online by search engines but will not hand the texts over to these companies...In the longer term, the German association wants to build its own search engine to offer services which could rival those offered by Google, Yahoo or Lycos, and even offer readers the chance to borrow books online. "We don't want Google to hold the texts in its servers; we want the publishers to keep them," Matthias Ulmer, who is leading the project, told Reuters in an interview at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair.
That's not to say that some German publishers are going to join the Google Print program. In fact, last week Google launched a Google Print "only" interface for Germany. They also introduced info Google Print for Germany a few months ago. This Deutsche Welle has info about Langenscheidt, a German dictionary publisher, going to begin with 160 dictionaries being added to Google Print.
Btw, all of this is not to be confused with a European program to digitize materials that we blogged about here.
Finally, let's not forget that Google is not the only organization making digitized books available on the web. NetLibraryand ebrary have been doing it for years and in many cases allow users to read the full text, in some cases print the text, and annotate what they read. I mentioned both of these services (available from home via many libraries) http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/051003-192507">in my original post about the Google Library Program.