Choking off non-Americans from Google books?

Non-US readers of Google Books aren’t allowed to see most of the content.  This is because of threats by European publishers afraid that somehow they might suffer some financial loss if their captive market could see books before 1923.  Google responded by simply barring access to people outside the US.  After all, if people outside the US want to be uneducated, how is that Google’s problem, they doubtless reasoned.  But it has always been possible for the techno-literate to get around this, albeit with some effort.

But it looks as if Google books might be raising the drawbridge even further.  Today I tried to get access to volume 13 of Texte und Untersuchungen, published in 1895.  Of course as one of the humiliores of the internet, I knew that I would not be allowed to see it.  But I tried my usual methods. 

Unfortunately the download link still did not appear.  With some wrestling, I was able to get a page with a link on, albeit not on the usual page, but for a while I feared the worst.

Never presume that Google books will always be available.  It may not.


12 thoughts on “Choking off non-Americans from Google books?

  1. Had same problem with TU vol.14!! One “side-track” just
    wouldn’t load. Finally on different browser and diff. “side-kick” I got through and got two dud PDFs!!
    Today, on different server I had no trouble… despite
    Google page telling me “no preview available” – not
    complaining. Got what I wanted (for years)…
    Thanks for ‘alert’ update on Mischa – and thanks to Mischa.

  2. Google technology is often unreliable; and that may be our best ally in this. I got my download, but like yourself had to juggle browsers. Google Chrome played fine. I had most difficulty with IE6.

    Here in euroland hardly anyone is aware of the riches on Google Books, and it is never mentioned on the mass media. Of course the reason is that, with that firewall in place, hardly anything is visible. It is quite extraordinary to witness, this communal suicide.

  3. I also noticed the problem with Google Books living in Asia. I assumed it was because of some DMCA complaint.

    Let’s just hope will eventually scan and upload all pre-1923 books. I’ve downloaded dozens of books from them (including the International Critical Commentary series). I also first discovered DJVU format from that site, which is now my preferred format for e-books.

  4. Just another “oddity” – I have noticed that the results
    are quite different depending on whether I start from or homepage – the latter impossibly obtuse!! I think “jp” publishers and authors are giving Google even more trouble than their European counterparts…

  5. It’s all rather a mess, that’s for sure.

    Interesting to hear about the search differences between .ie and .jp. I have long known that doing a search in .uk is not worth the effort — .com gives a quite different set of results. I can understand the book being accessible or not, depending on country, but the list of results? That’s crazy.

    We need political action to smack down the publishers here. In their short-sighted greed they are injuring their own communities and even curtailing their own profits. Sadly the politicians all have books of “memoirs” they want to publish, which perhaps explains their craven compliance with every demand, however ridiculous, that a publisher makes.

  6. Dear Mr. Pearse,
    I have used a proxy, like and I did not have any problem in order to read the link you have posted.
    It is sufficient to use a no-EU located proxy. Not all of these free proxy allows it but only for subscrivers. I have tested some of them, and I found that works.
    Greetings from the PIO of Rome!

  7. Love what I can get for free on and similar sites but what may or may not have been a glitch and non-US with Google books could always become permanent and world wide.

    Consider the near future: Books have been tossed out as libraries focus on delivery rather than collections, people don’t own hardcopies of books but have access to millions of e-books, 2nd hand bookshops have ceased to exist, so all we have access to apart from a few books that have value as collectors items is online – and a “glitch” crashes the whole system?
    The “glitch” could be:
    1. Cyber terrorism – why blow yourself up to cause a few deaths when blocking access by doctors and researchers to every medical reference work and journal could cause thousands of deaths
    2. Black hat hackers – deny access to everyone just for the fun of it
    3. Commercialism – you can still access the system but only by paying a fee
    4. Censorship – consider the ratbags who would use legislation and judical activism to censor a range of books as (in their eyes) sexist, homophobic, racist, violent, or whatever.

    Only if scanned items are backed up on different systems in different nations by different organisations can we avoid most but not all of these problems. This doesn’t seem to be the case!


  8. These are all good points. In fact our dependence on a single point of failure is a real risk in many ways. That dependence can only grow.

    I too love, but I notice they removed some all the Google PDF’s which people had uploaded and replaced them with links to Google. That removed a layer of safety.

    Sadly our politicians are mostly busy trying to find ways to tax the web, to keep stuff off it in deference to old-time publishing, or else to create censorship bodies…

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