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Has Google Books Become an Afterthought in the USA?

In the past year in particular, with the Google Books settlement all but dead, attention has waned.

By Edward Nawotka

Go back to the middle of the last decade and you would have thought that Google Books was a harbinger of doom. Publishers and authors alike were vociferous in their dislike of the project. But in the past year in particular, with the Google Books settlement all but dead, attention has waned and the focus has shifted to Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.

All the while, Google has continued to amass ever greater amounts of data, information and book content online. The service offers numerous features, not the least of which is the ability to preview far more of a given book than you can through Amazon or Apple.

I’m often surprised to see that more websitse and authors don’t link to Google Books — which offers numerous purchasing options — rather than linking just to a single source (of course, they may be motivated by having set up an affiliate program with a given site).

While I don’t buy my books through Google Books, I have found other uses for it. In my house, we use Google Books as our de-facto cookbook shelf, a source of classic literature for our children, and as a general reference library.

So tell us, how do you use Google Books? Do you use it as a source to acquire print books? E-books? Or as virtual library, as the service was initially sold to the public? Or, has it become an afterthought, one you forget to use in lieu of downloading books from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

In Europe, which doesn’t have nearly as competitive an e-book sales environment as in the United States, it’s a different story — as evidenced by the impact of todays’ announcement of the partnership between Paris literary magazine ActuaLitté and Google Books.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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4 Comments

  1. Fred Heath
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    For me, Google Books has two great advantages: (1) the ability to amass a library on any given topic that includes in-print titles, orphan works, and public domain titles, and then search for a single term across that collection; it’s an amazing e-index. (2) the vast array of public domain books is easily accessible, downloadable, and transferable and I can move easily between my desktop, laptop, iPhone, and iPad. (The others may permit that too, but I have turned away from Kindle and B&N because they don’t seem to align with my behavior as well). I hope Google does not lose interest in Google Books–a distinct possibility I suspect.

  2. Posted December 21, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    This post is confusing. Do you mean Google Books or Google eBookstore or are you mixing the two together in some unholy stew?

  3. Ashford
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    “…attention has waned.” Don’t overlook the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) initiative going on. http://bit.ly/u95v9u

  4. Edward Nawotka
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    While they are distinct, I for one and I suspect a great many people access the Google eBookstore via Google Books, typically by going through a Google search. So in that sense the integration is fully there.

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