Google has agreed to pay $125 million to settle two copyright lawsuits by publishers and authors over its book-scanning project, in what the search giant described as a "historic" development that would allow people to search, buy and read millions of books online and accelerate the shift of the printed word onto the Internet.

As part of the agreement (which is still subject to approval) Google will be allowed scan millions of books that are copyrighted but out of print and users will be able to preview up to 20 percent of the content for free. They will also be able to purchase works online and view them from their computer screen or print them out for later use.

Lastly, libraries across the country will get free access to the books and Google will create a Book Rights Registry to compensate authors and publishers for material accessed online. Overall, it seems like a win for both sides: publishers and authors will get new revenue streams for books and Google will probably get a cut of revenues from online book sales as well as ad revenue.