Want to rent a book online?

Hey, how about lending me that book online for a week? Sound a little odd? Well, that is the new page in Google's digital book program, according to an article published on the Wall Street Journal 's Web site Sunday.

The search giant has approached book publishers to measure interest in a concept to allow consumers to essentially rent books online for a week, according to the article. The books would not be downloadable or printable, but that may change, according to an unidentified publisher mentioned as the article's source. Although the idea presents an excellent opportunity for book publishers to access the emerging digital book market, the proposed fee to end users--10 percent of the list price--was too low, this publisher said.

The plan appears to be related to Google's effort to make hundreds of thousands of books available online. Google launched its Print Library Project late last year, saying it would digitize and make searchable online texts from the university library collections at Harvard, Stanford, Michigan, Oxford and the New York Public Library.

Opposition to the Google library project has been fierce. The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers have sued the search behemoth, claiming that scanning entire copyright works violates copyright law. Google denies that, saying its planned use of the works, including displaying only a snippet of a book still under copyright, is allowed under the "fair use" provision of the copyright law.

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