Google defends its Book Search project, saying the availability of rare works benefits authors and users, said Rachel Whetstone, Google's head of communications in Europe, who spoke at the press conference. If available, Google includes information on where to buy the books.
"We turn those searches into buyers," Whetstone said.
Google is currently being sued in the U.S. over its online book project, which involves full scanning and indexing of the books. For the 60 percent of books with unclear copyright status, Google has put them on the Internet but will withdraw the works if requested.
But Google's work has rankled publishers, many of whom would like to see the company ask permission before scanning.
"What Google is doing there is not simply indexing," said Hugh Jones, copyright counsel for The Publishers Association, during an exchange with Whetstone. "Google is digitizing the entire book."