What iTunes has been to music, Google hope its new deal with the U.S. publishing industry will be to books. Hailed as a key moment in e-publishing, Google will offer readers an opportunity to view free samples of titles -- even those out-of-print or hard to find -- which they search for using Google and get the option to buy more. Google will pay royalties to the Book Rights Registry, which will distribute them to authors and publishers. Universities and large organizations are expected to be the first users, paying large institutional subscriptions for students and researchers, though the cost to end users outside academia still hasn't been determined. The agreement, after all, is still waiting court approval and, if approved, will resolve two copyright lawsuits over potential copyright violations in its Google Book Search product. Many academics are eager for the opportunity to download millions of titles -- many out of print -- or buy content chapter-by-chapter, alleviating the tired process of endless catalog searches and index queries. The Google Book Rights Registry will ensure that publishers and authors receive compensation from subscription services and ad revenue. As far as e-publishing goes, it's just another way Google is evolving the way people do research. Allowing users to improve their searches simply and effectively will no doubt have a profound impact in years to come. In addition, it also improves the visibility for authors, whose great works have the opportunity to live on -- even after they go out of print.