According to Dagens Nyheter journalist Juan Flores, who seems to be the man on the case for that particular Swedish daily, Bonnier has become the first large publishing house in Sweden to dispute the Google arrangement. Bonnier's company lawyer, Dag Wetterberg, will be quite busy right now, as Google has evidently scanned some 60,000 titles by Bonnier authors, and in 6,000 of these cases the whole book has been scanned. Bonnier is being offered a lump sum of a million Swedish kronor (i.e. about €100,000, slightly less in sterling) for this monumental control of titles, which Bonnier thinks is far too little money for far too much long-term power.
It would seem to outsiders like me that this is becoming a rather hubristic exercise on the part of Google. It also looks as if Google has been scanning thousands, maybe millions of books, if we extrapolate from the Bonnier case, on the sneak, hoping that they will be able to do something with these scans that will afford Google a profit. According to the Bonnier lawyer, Google seem to have been scanning away at U.S. universities that have Swedish departments (well, no problem in the UK, there aren't many...), and this could mean that every Swedish book bought by these universities before the beginning of 2009 can end up on a Google data base.
The Bonnier lawyer does not appear to be a Luddite, merely wondering who is going to profit from all this. Obviously, it is a great boon for books to be scanned, should the originals be destroyed by accident or war. But I hope that European publishing houses will wake up to what is going on, before they find out that, by doing nothing, they have signed up to wholesale control of their publications by Google.
The other large Swedish publishing house, Norstedts, has not yet come to a decision as to how to tackle this issue.
I do get the feeling that this whole issue has been handled badly by the various players, leading to a situation where publishing houses worldwide are suddenly finding themselves in an opt-out position, never an enviable one to be in.