Many book lovers savor the opportunity to browse the aisles of a local bookstore to peruse a favorite genre, glance at new releases or watch for the latest from a favorite author. And when you find something of interest, there is the ritual of scanning the book jacket flaps, the table of contents, and even a few chapters to decide if it’s worth buying.
But this has not been quite as easy to accomplish on the Internet … until now. Last week Google announced a new feature tied to its Book Search program, a widget-like tool called Google Previews. By adding simple code to their Web sites, publishers, retailers or anyone with sufficient technical knowledge can embed a Google-hosted preview of up to 20% of any book that has been included in the Google Book Search database.
Among those that have already applied this tool to their Web sites are Books-A-Million and Blackwell Bookshop. Borders and Powell’s will launch their applications soon and certainly others will add this tool in the coming months.
While the tool is a great help to book buyers, it could also prove to be a boon to booksellers. With declining books sales and ever-increasing competition, online bookstores need all the help they can get to make the sale. Google has provided a new resource for any Web site that promotes books.
So grab your cup of coffee and do a little browsing online. You won’t be able to touch the books, but at least now you can get a good look inside.