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Google said Wednesday that it had reached a deal with the publisher Hachette Livre, which has broken ranks with its French rivals and agreed to allow Google to scan thousands of out-of-print books for its digital library project.
Under the agreement, which follows a landmark settlement with U.S. publishers last year, Google will be allowed to sell the books it scans as e-books or in other electronic formats.
But there is one important difference between the U.S. settlement and the deal with Hachette, the largest publisher in France and the No.2 trade publisher by sales worldwide, after Pearson. Hachette, not Google, will determine which of the books covered by the deal — those that remain under copyright but are no longer commercially available — can be scanned.