Sure the Google Books settlement is controversial. Critics say it negatively affects authors and marketplace competition. However, some interesting new twists on publishing as a whole have come forward as a result of Google Books—aside from the settlement–and its mission to scan out-of-print books. Take, for instance, the PrintOnDemand Espresso machine recently blogged about at JoeTrippi.com and profiled in Wired. Basically, this device will allow bookstores to print on demand perfect bound books from the Google Books library, in the store, for a very low cost-per-book.
It’s sort of a Red Box for books, although perhaps a ways off from widespread implementation. The potential application is much broader than just for Google Books, however. Publishers could make use of the technology to distribute new titles as well. (ht: @freddieoconnell)