An announcement from OCLC:

OCLC has begun a pilot within the Open WorldCat program to facilitate the online purchase of books identified through Open WorldCat. Web searchers in the United States that reach Open WorldCat from popular search engines or other Web resources may use a book buying link to purchase books through Baker & Taylor, a leading provider of books, videos, music and other services to libraries, retailers and other resellers.

This new component of the Open WorldCat program not only connects Web searchers with the materials they need; it also delivers a financial benefit to libraries that participate in the program. Each time a Web searcher purchases a book through Open WorldCat, a portion of the proceeds will be shared with Open WorldCat libraries in one of two ways. The purchaser decides online whether to apply a credit directly to the account of a selected Open WorldCat participant library or to redirect the credit to support the ongoing development of Open WorldCat for the benefit of all participating libraries.

In the introductory phase of book purchasing through Open WorldCat, Baker & Taylor is the single supplier of books. Baker & Taylor will sell books from its current inventory of over 500,000 titles. The book buying option will be visible initially to users in the United States. OCLC hopes to expand this feature to other content formats and additional partners, and to libraries outside the United States in the future. OCLC will pursue the best prices and discounts available for consumers, who will identify their library as part of the transaction.

All libraries that contribute holdings to the WorldCat database and maintain a subscription to the WorldCat database on the OCLC FirstSearch service are eligible for donations through this program. If your library is not currently included in Open WorldCat, contact your regional service provider for participation details.

For more information about the Open WorldCat program, visit

What’s most interesting to me about this is the tension between, on the one hand, Google directing more traffic to book vendors rather than to libraries, and on the other hand, libraries receiving a portion of the proceeds. The two are not mutually exclusive, of course. But it’s in libraries’ interest to have users actually come to the library, not just buy books. On the other hand, libraries do need the cash. It’ll also be interesting to see how users vote with their wallets: support their local library or the Open WorldCat project?

As an aside, I have a bone to pick with Google. Over their search box they have various links: Images, Groups, News, Froogle, Local, Desktop, etc. When are they going to add Library?