Home Google Book Search Adds Embeddable Previews

Google Book Search Adds Embeddable Previews

Google today announced embeddable previews for all books included in Google’s Book Search. Developers can now make use of a set of APIs to embed these previews into any site. Google has already signed up a large number of bookstores, libraries, and social book sites for this new service. Amazon, of course, has included book previews on its own site since 2003, but thanks to this new feature of Google Books, any vendor can now add book previews to their sites for free.

Among the launch partners are various international online bookstores, including Books-A-Million, Blackwell, A1Books, Liberia Norma, and Liveria Cultura. In the U.S., Borders.com, Buy.com, and Powell’s Books will start implementing previews in the new few weeks. Various university libraries have also started to add book previews, including the University of Texas and the University of California.

At its inception, Google Book Search was a controversial idea, not only among book publishers, but also among librarians. A lot of this early resistance is now giving way to a more positive attitude, as the advantages of Book Search become more apparent to most publishers. After all, publishers can decide for themselves how many pages of a given book they want Google to include in the previews, and librarians can now offer their users an easy way to assess the usefulness of a book from the comfort of their homes.

While these previews are still relatively hard to implement for individuals, we expect that developers will quickly create tools that will allow us to embed book previews on blogs or social networks.

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