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My book, Net Attitude, has been for sale on Amazon since it was published and there is a link to purchase it directly from the book image on the patrickWeb homepage. (the commissions from Amazon are modest and I contribute them to charity). The new news is that there is now an interesting way to not only get to Amazon to buy the book but also to find and read part of the book content through Google’s new book searching site. Here is a link to the Google beta test.
Up until now the way you find a book is to search on the title, author, or publisher. Needless to say, what you are actually looking for in many cases may not relate directly to the title of a book. In the case of Net Attitude, believe it or not, I have been asked more than once if the book was about tennis. No one has asked about fishing so far. If you were interested in the Internet and searched on the word "internet" at Amazon you would get more than 50,000 matches. Being able to search on content in the book instead of just the title of the book vastly expands the potential to find what you are looking for.
Google has made arrangements with publishers to place excerpts of book content on the Google site. In the case of Net Attitude, they have used about 80% of Chapter 1. I had put all of chapter 1 online from the beginning and crawlers lead people to it via Google and other search engines. However, that is not the same as having a specific targeted search capability for book content, which is what Google appears to be doing. Google provides a link from the book excerpt page directly to the book purchase page at Amazon, Barnes and Noble.com, and Books-A-Million. They also have sponsored links at the end of the excerpt. I suspect that the latter is their primary business model for the new search service (still in beta). They are quoted as saying that they have no business relationship with any of the book sellers as part of the search service.
As complex search strings with Boolean logic become easy to use, search algorithms get more powerful, and storage gets less expensive, finding a book that contains exactly what you want and does not contain things you don’t want will become commonplace. Amazon is taking a different approach by putting entire books online but providing an image of the text and not the text itself. Yahoo! is active in the search area too. The competition among them will be a very good thing for anyone who wants to find books with specific content.