Google is a cruel Santa

Cruel Santa gives you everything you ever wanted – problem is he gives it to everyone else too. Such is life. I was miserating with Forrest Proper and Judith Tingley the other day, that sure, the internet makes buying the book you want easier, but it hasn’t done that same with browsing. You can easily find what you want, but you still don’t know what you want, you know? Thus the function of old bookshops may have a hacking cough but it’s charm still prevails. Besides, it’s the only place you can get off on that ‘old book’ smell. (kinda like fresh baked cookies, if those cookies happned to be made of old cardboard and dust with a hint of mildew, you get the idea) The argument going round and round at present is whether Google’s Book Search feature is good or bad. Is it the death of circulating libraries and used bookstores? are copyright laws being violated like a drunken prom queen? who the hell knows? It won’t be stopped by silly little lititgations like Perfect 10 porn and publishers v. libraries. There’s too much money involved. Like the internet it just IS, everybody is just fighting over profit sharing.

As I always like a little naughty with my corn flakes I took Google’s Book Search for a test drive. I typed in “Richard Gehman”, a dead writer I particularly like, and I got 347 pages of results. The cloud of results include Gehman’s own books, anthologies where his work has been reprinted, books he is mentioned in personally, and books where his books are referenced. Some give you the entire page or more, some only show the text occurence, but for the most part you get the gist of the book in question. I did get to add a few books to my to-borrow-from-the-library list which is my precursor to the buy-when-I-have-the-money list. GBS did a better job of indexing book contents than the system my library uses. So it has made title browsing much more enjoyable for me, and is head and shoulders better than depending on Amazon’s title suggestion system. My personal opinion is enjoy it while it’s free….cause anything this popular and free won’t be for very long.

evil henchmen
– a peek at the machines that DO the scanning.

DIY – and if you want to build your OWN book scanner we have plans.

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