Self-Help Gurus Stream Workshops

America Online has added seven authors, including fitness guru Denise Austin and Body by Jake founder Jake Steinfeld, to its "Coaches" program--an initiative that promotes self-help writers and their books--the company said Wednesday.

The "Coaches" program aims to give self-help writers broad exposure--much the same as music videos do for bands. AOL will offer book excerpts, audio/video streams of them reading from their books, interactive quizzes, and other features. For some authors--such as Steinfeld, who has just authored a new book about starting a business--AOL will stream videos of the writers leading workshops.

The section also has links directing visitors to sites where they can purchase the books. In addition, AOL will ask some visitors whether they want to opt-in to receive promotional messages about the books.

AOL's expansion of "Coaches" comes at a time when some book publishers feel increasingly threatened by the Internet. The Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers recently sued Google over the search company's initiative to scan books from libraries and make them searchable online. Some publishers and authors allege that the plan violates their copyright. Google has said that making short passages of the books available online is a fair use of the material, and therefore, doesn't violate copyright law.

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