Here a google, there a google,
everywhere a google google. And yay – one for the book lovers.
A beta from Google fittingly called: Google Book Search
I haven’t spent enough time yet to see if it will surpass Amazon as being my favorite place to look up a book and see reviews, but it does seem to be very complete and offer more information than any book search I’ve come across so far.
For example, I tried searching for a classic – Pride and Prejudice. A full page of interesting information and additional links about the book is available:
- book vitals – the usual: author, date published, language, number of pages
- sections/chapters, popular passages
- reviews and references
- other editions of the book
There is a feature called My Library that allows you to import books by ISBN or by searching and adding manually. From there you can review the book, read parts of it (if there is preview available), or in some case, the entire book is available. Yes, I know very few of us want to sit at their computer/laptop to enjoy a novel, but this is a great tool.
As a side note, I’m really hoping an affordable e-reader that can read pdfs, plain text and other file types will be available in the near future. There are many titles available in the public domain that I know I’d read if I had the text in an easy-to-read electronic format.
Another interesting addition with the google book search is the Search in this book feature. If all or part of the book’s text is available online, this feature will return all matching references by page number and/or link. That could be handy as a reference, for book blogging, or for research projects.
Only a couple of things seem to be missing:
- No series information – Anyone else find it irritating when you stumble across a new series and cannot immediately tell which book comes first?
- No related books functionality – There is a category associated with a returned search result but it does not seem very complex or useful in finding other similar books.
These are fairly minor details, it’s still a solid book finding tool. And of course, even if you don’t necessarily appreciate all these features, the search results also list links to the online book retailers selling the book – which saves you a couple of steps if you want to comparison shop on the title.