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Posts Tagged ‘Google Book Search’

Let The Web Be Your Travel Agent

The concept of free and Google Book Search and electronic publishing might scare off many a trade publisher, but for the right projects, perfect matches can be found. The WSJ’s Jeff Trachtenberg looks at how travel publishers are embracing the web for their needs, realizing that by offering free Web content based on their books, they can attract enough traffic to generate advertising and other revenue — as well as promote their titles. Publishers such as Wiley, Frommers and Fodor’s are realizing that by offering free Web content based on their books, they can attract enough traffic to generate advertising and other revenue — to the tune of $10 million and $15 million in advertising annually — as well as promote their titles.

These initiatives raise a question in Trachtenberg’s mind: Could this go further, where advertisers are targeting readers of a particular author? So far, the country’s biggest-selling writers have steered clear of ads. James Patterson, the former ad executive turned novelist, offers all sorts of free content on his Web site, including brief excerpts of some of his novels. But the site hasn’t solicited advertising, concerned that ads for other businesses could turn off Patterson fans and hurt book sales. “We’re considering side businesses but we have to put them through the filter of whether it advances the value of the Web to our readers,” says Steve Bowen, president of James Patterson Entertainment. “It’s a hollow victory if you end up undermining your core business.”

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The Book World Tackles the Digital Age

So reads the headline on today’s piece over at the mothership site, jumping off from last month’s Google UnBound conference and delving into the industry’s determination to protect its intellectual property and digital content from the paws of Google Book Search.

Now it’s Google Book & Map Search

The debate about whether Google Book Search is a good thing or a bad thing is a topic that the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin handles very well, but for those in the latter camp, they likely won’t appreciate Google’s newest invention, which will let people plot on maps references to places they find in books. ItWorldCanada reports that book entries in Google Book Search may include a section called “Places mentioned in this book.” The section includes a map from Google Maps with pins indicating places included in the text. Below the map is a list with the name of the places, linked to the pages in which they are mentioned and an excerpt from the text.

“When our automatic techniques determine that there are a good number of quality locations from a book to show you, you’ll find a map on the ‘About this book’ page,” wrote David Petrou, a Google software engineer, in the official Book Search blog, on Thursday. “We hope this feature helps you plan your next trip, research an area for academic purposes, or visualize the haunts of your favorite fictional characters.” At the moment, you can do that with public domain classics like Jules Verne‘s AROUND THE THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS and Leo Tolstoy‘s WAR AND PEACE. But as expected, Google plans to expand this feature further.

Reaction, New Directions for Google

Bryan Appleyard attended the Google Unbound conference last week and files his report on the proceedings, which is interesting enough, but what caught my attention was his assertion that it’s not the readers who will have the final say on how books are read, but teachers. “They will determine whether people will read for information, knowledge or, ultimately, wisdom. If they fail and their pupils read only for information, then we are in deep trouble. For the net doesn’t educate and the mind must be primed to deal with its informational deluge. On that priming depends the future of civilisation. How we handle the digitising of the libraries will determine who we are to become.”

Meanwhile, the Times reports that Google is in the process of working on a system, not unlike an iPod, that would allow readers to download entire books to their computers in a format that they could read on screen or on mobile devices such as a Blackberry. Jens Redmer, director of Google Book Search in Europe, said: “We are working on a platform that will let publishers give readers full access to a book online.” He did not believe taking books online would mean the end of the printed word but it would give readers more options when it came to buying. “You may just want to rent a travel guide for the holiday or buy a chapter of a book. Ultimately, it will be the readers who decide how books are read,” he said.

Publishing Unbound, Google-Style

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A crowd more than 300-strong gathered at the New York Public Library‘s Celeste Bartos Room for Google‘s all-day Unbound conference to be told, in no uncertain terms by an array of speakers, that if you’re not moving with the digital times, you’re just not a 21st century publisher. I paraphrase, of course, but that was certainly the vibe in the air what with Seth Godin comparing publishers to outlying planets, Cory Doctorow (on the fiction side) and Daniel Weiss (on the educational side) explaining why giving content away is a good thing, and Tim O’Reilly advocating for Google Book Search as a way of capturing the almost 75% of books that aren’t accounted for by not being in print or in the public domain.

Aside from Godin and Doctorow, Chris Anderson was on hand to give an abbreviated spiel of his bestselling THE LONG TAIL, Stephen Dubner (of Freakonomics fame) talked about how the related website – now a blog with additional content features – brings in over 2 million page views a month, and J.A. Konrath stressed the importance of having “things to offer” instead of “things to sell” on an author website. But the big hit of the afternoon – at least, judging by applause – was Josh Kilmer-Purcell, who used Powerpoint in hilarious fashion to describe how MySpace hooked him up with fellow members of the Memoirist Collective. And for those who need help interpreting the slide, Kilmer-Purcell illustrated how his book, I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS, was published by HarperPerennial, which is part of HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who owns “half the world” – and when the Judith Regan graphic cued up, the room erupted in laughter…

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