Publisher’s Weekly is reporting that a settlement might be at hand.

Nearly three years after publishers filed a lawsuit against Google over its controversial program to scan books from library shelves, a settlement could be near. Although rumors of a settlement have flared up and died down intermittently over the years, sources this week confirmed for Library Journal and Publishers Weekly that talk of a final agreement has indeed heated up, and one publishing insider with knowledge of the talks confirmed that a settlement announcement was “imminent.” Asked if the broad strokes of a final settlement with Google had indeed been reached, Association of American Publishers spokesperson Judith Platt suggested that the rumor mill was once again starting its run up to Frankfurt, which begins October 15. A Google spokesperson said the company does not comment on speculation.

If Google does stay in the scanning business, I wish someone would teach them how to scan physical copies of books to anything approach industry standard quality.

UPDATE (10/28/08): Wired News has a brief report on the settlement. The notion of a Book Rights Registry caught my eye. The Google Books website has a brief explanation of the settlement.