CHINA: Google teams up with publisher of Chinese books

Cite Publishing becomes first Chinese content provider for Google Book Search

Taipei Times
Friday, January 19, 2007

By Jessie Ho

US Internet search giant Google Inc yesterday announced that it has signed up Cite Publishing Holding Group as its first content provider of Chinese book titles for Google Book Search, a service that will be introduced to Taiwan in the near future.

"Google Book Search aims to help book lovers locate and explore more book resources, and generate more sales for publishers," Rebecca Kuei, head of sales and business development at Google Taiwan, told a press conference yesterday.

Through the service, readers can search for books and read part -- or up to 20 percent -- of the content online, instead of going "physically" to bookstores to flip through the books. And to ensure copyright protection, the system prevents users from printing or saving the content to a file.

Publishers in the US saw their sales increase after hooking up with Google Book Search, Kuei said.

Of the more than 10,000 Chinese book titles, in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters, about 1,000 will be put online during the initial stage, said Ho Fei-peng, executive director and CEO of the group.

By the end of the year, Cite, an associate of the Hong Kong-based Tom Group, hopes to have 2,000 to 3,000 titles in Google Book Search, Ho said.

The company has not yet decided on a launch date for the service, Kuei said, as this would depend on how fast it could expand its book database.

"The faster we have more partners join us, the sooner the service would be available," Kuei said.

Besides Cite, Google Taiwan is in talks with other major local publishers, as well as those in China, to accumulate as many Chinese books as possible to provide better services to readers in the Greater Chinese region, she said, without naming the potential partners.

Kuei did not reveal the value of the cooperation with partner publishers, but said they can split part of the ad revenues generated on Google Book Search.

The service also allows readers to order online. Industry sources said that Google Taiwan is in talks with books.com Co, the nation's largest online book retailer which is owned by Uni-President Enterprises Corp, to provide booking service.

Kuei refused to comment on the potential deal.

With information access becoming easily available through the Internet, book sales in Taiwan have been sliding over the past few years, Ho said. The local publishing market last year shrunk 20 percent to 30 percent from the previous year, Ho added.

Making use of the Internet, such as working with Google, will help Cite to extend its marketing reach and enhance its presence, Ho said.