Microsoft Shuttering Book Digitization Efforts

Following on the heels of Microsoft's announcement that it would pay customers who search for and buy products through Microsoft Live Search cashback, the company's Microsoft's Live Search team announced on its blog that it would be taking down its Live Search Books and Live Search Academic projects Web sites in coming days. It will also be closing down its library scanning and in-copyright book digitization initiatives. Schools and publishers will receive digital copies of their scanned books, and Microsoft said it would remove contractual restrictions placed on the digitized content.

According to the blog entry, the company had digitized 750,000 books and indexed 80 million journal articles through the two programs. Books and scholarly publications will continue to be integrated into Live Search results, but not through separate indices.

"We have learned a tremendous amount from our experience and believe this decision, while a hard one, can serve as a catalyst for more sustainable strategies," wrote Satya Nadella, senior VP, search, portal and advertising. "To that end, we intend to provide publishers with digital copies of their scanned books. We are also removing our contractual restrictions placed on the digitized library content and making the scanning equipment available to our digitization partners and libraries to continue digitization programs. We hope that our investments will help increase the discoverability of all the valuable content that resides in the world of books and scholarly publications."

In the cashback program, participating merchants choose to pay Microsoft a fee each time a customer completes a sale through Live Search cashback. The fee is a percentage of the retail price, and when that transaction is complete, Microsoft returns that fee to the consumer in the form of a cash rebate.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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