Publishing Houses Think That Expensive, Fragmented And Limited Book Search Is Better Than Letting Google And Amazon Do It?
from the please-explain dept
Book publishers have been pretty vocal in their dislike for Google’s plan to scan books and make them searchable via a great big electronic card catalog — claiming that this somehow is a misuse of their content. That seems like a stretch, since Google is never making the complete content of the book available (just small snippets) and are basically no different than creating an index (sort of like what they do for the web). It seems quite likely that Google’s service would then help to sell more books by making them easier to find — a claim supported by a few publishers who actually understood the concept and realized that Google’s book search is a good thing. Other publishers haven’t been so quick to figure this out. HarperCollins decided to scan its own damn books, but are doing so with quite a lot of limitations.
Now Random House has announced that it, too, is making excerpts of books available online — but it’s just excerpts and of just a few books. The question, really, is why bother? All these publishers are creating limited, expensive, fragmented searches for books, when Google (and others such as Yahoo and Amazon) are more than willing to do the work for them, while bringing all the offerings together. There are very, very few people in this world who think about books in terms of who published them. No one wants to know that they need to go to a certain place to search for a Random House book and another for a HarperCollins book. Instead, let the search engines do the work (and spend the money), and the search engines will bring in the people and help drive sales. Building separate, fragmented book searches hardly seems like a compelling or cost-effective plan.