August 13, 2009 | By Hugh D'Andrade

NPR Story on Google Books, Privacy and the Future of the Book

NPR had a radio story yesterday on the Google Books settlement and the privacy concerns raised by EFF and many authors and publishers. It's short but does a great job of covering the basic points, and includes excellent commentary from author Jonathan Lethem, who has joined EFF in calling on Google to do more to commit to privacy protections for readers:

Novelist Jonathan Lethem says Google should be "congratulated" for its effort. Lethem adds, "This is the moment to take a look and say, 'Why isn't it as private as the world we're being asked to leave behind, the world of physical books?' "

Lethem wonders whether future readers will have the same kind of relationship with books that he had. "When I was on this very private, very eccentric, intense journey as a younger person, it was crucial that it be a solitary practice," he says. But if future readers have reason to think they're leaving a digital trail, he adds, it might deprive the reading experience of its intimacy.

Join EFF's call to action — tell Google to build in privacy protections to its Google Book Search, and ensure that reading in the future is as safe and private in the digital world as it is in the analog.

And if you're an author or publisher and want to join in the objection brief, you can contact us directly at or review the more detailed information we've put together for authors and publishers. Note that you can still participate in the settlement proceeds (that is, get paid based on use of your books in Google Books Products) if you join in the objection brief and the settlement is ultimately approved.

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