Is this a move to compete with what Amazon has done? Google is beta-testing a Google Print site. Here’s what they say about the new service. “Google Print enables publishers to promote their books on Google. Google scans the full text of participating publishers’ titles so that Google users can see books that match the topics that they are searching on. When a user clicks on a book search result, they’re taken to a Google-hosted web page displaying a scanned image of the relevant page from the book. Each page also contains multiple ‘Buy this Book’ links, allowing users to purchase the book from online retailers.”
If you remember, Amazon began to scan pages of books to allow users to search for specific content within books before they made their purchases. This drew some criticism from authors and others who citied copyright infringement concerns. As a company dedicated to helping Web users find exactly the information they are looking for, Google seems to be a natural competitor in moving toward documenting the content of books. Read more about the service FAQ here.
According to Google, the company’s “mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Since a lot of the world’s information isn’t yet online, we’re helping to get it there. Google Print puts the content of books where you can find it most easily; right in Google search results.” Also, Google recently began a Google Scholar site for writers and academics, allowing them to “search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research … Find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the Web.”