Amazon Plan Would Allow Searching Texts Of Many Books

from the plugging-a-Googlehole dept

This next story is especially interesting in light of two stories we posted last week. First, we mentioned how plenty of online companies were suddenly trying to figure out just how they competed with Google. At the same time, someone else was writing about how people doing research these days were missing out on important books because they would just search on Google, and Google doesn’t index books. That’s true, but now, Amazon may be stepping up against Google, by doing what they don’t. Amazon is apparently in talks with a number of publishers about plans to digitize and index the contents of thousands of books. The idea is that you could go to Amazon, and do a regular search, and it would show you a list of books that had text that matched what you were searching for. Amazon would then let you see a limited section of text around the words you were searching for and then, of course, suggest you might want to buy the book. This sounds like a great, and extraordinarily useful idea, but some people seem to have their doubts. Others have tried this in the past, and it hasn’t gotten very far. The biggest problem is the expense of the undertaking. To scan in so many books is not easy. Furthermore, it sounds like both publishers and authors are incredibly nervous about this idea, as they see any digitizing of content a risk to creating a “Napster for books”. Still, I hope they get this figured out, because if it worked well, it could be an incredibly useful tool. Publishers and authors should get over their fears, as it would only increase the sale of books by making more people aware of their existence.

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Comments on “Amazon Plan Would Allow Searching Texts Of Many Books”

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Billy J. West Jr. says:

What's with the digitize?

Books are already in digital form at the publishers. The old days of manually placing letters on the press went out quite a while ago. I can see the need to digitize older books, but anything that has been published (or re-published) within the last 20 to 30 years is sure to be in digital form somewhere.

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