ImageGoogle has just won a landmark legal battle involving its fair use/copyright dispute with The Authors Guild. A judge agreed with their argument that scanning pages of published books constitutes fair use.

The interesting thing about this decision is that the scanned pages in the books creates a new opportunity for business owners with authority to achieve search engine rankings. If you write a book and it ends up on Google Books, which is likely, then whatever pages are scanned as a result will be searchable and will likely end up in search results for the right phrases. That could lead to additional books sold for authors.

Even if it doesn’t, it will certainly add new SEO opportunities for authors who can use the first few pages and chapters of their books as ways to target search engine indexes in print.

Sound like a trick? Don’t bet on it. Just head on over to Google Books and start searching. A search for “search engine optimization” turns up book after book on the subject. One of those could be yours. Or, choose another subject to search on and your book could be on that SERP.

When you consider that Google now lists images, videos, maps, and other search verticals on its search results pages, I think you’re likely to start seeing books included, as well. It’s just a matter of time before we see Google really play up its big win.