Our buds at Amazon are creating a searchable database of thousands of nonfiction books:
- Executives at Amazon.com are negotiating with several of the largest book publishers about an ambitious and expensive plan to assemble a searchable online archive with the texts of tens of thousands of books of nonfiction, according to several publishing executives involved.
Amazon plans to limit how much of any given book a user can read, and it is telling publishers that the plan will help sell more books while better serving its own online customers.
Together with little-publicized additions to Amazon’s Web site, like listings of restaurants and movie showings, the plan appears to be part of a strategy to compete with online search services like Google and Yahoo for consumers’ time and attention. Providing a searchable online database of the contents of books could make Amazon a more authoritative source of information, drawing additional traffic to its online retail store.
….Amazon is calling its program Look Inside the Book II, the publishers said. It would expand on a current program that lets shoppers read a table of contents, a first chapter or a few selected pages provided by the publishers of certain books. But Look Inside the Book II would let online browsers search by terms like “Caravaggio,” “sans-culottes,” or “Osama bin Laden,” and then see a list of books mentioning the term along with the sentence that contains it. Browsers could then choose to see several pages around that citation.
But to see those pages Amazon would require users to register, and it plans to limit the amount of any single book a browser can view. [NY Times]