Google adds new data type for books, with markup that supports "buy e-book" links in Knowledge Graph cards

Google has added a new data type to their structured data documentation, Books, that allow publishers to point to a purchase location for an ebook. According to the page, which was published on 3 Dec. 2016:

Book actions make Google Search an entry point for discovering books and authors, enabling Search users to quickly buy the books that they find directly from Search results. As a provider of e-books, you can provide a feed of data to Google using the structured data schema below.

The markup relies on the schema.org/ReadAction class to allow publishers to provide a URL, a platform declaration (i.e., information on which platform the book may be read), and e-book offer information.

As with other such new rich results features, the ability to generate such ebook offers is initially limited, in this case to "popular retailers that have broad book availability". And, as with other such pilots, those not currently included are provided with a link where they can register their interest in participating in the program.

It's worth noting that, not for the first time, Google is providing publishers with schema.org URLs that don't actually exist - here as values for the required EntryPoint Google-required property actionPlatform. All of these "schema.org" URLs Google glibly provided as actionPlatform targets will return a 404 if you actually attempt to fetch them (and no, you won't find them in pending.schema.org either):

* http://schema.org/DesktopWebPlatform
* http://schema.org/MobileWebPlatform
* http://schema.org/AndroidPlatform
* http://schema.org/IOSPlatform

It's perhaps understandable that when Google requires a new schema.org class or property that they just invent one rather than put it through the pipeline, but this happens frequently enough that I think we need to coin a phrase for these faux, Google-minted URLs. I propose "schoogle.org URL". :)

All of this explains the presence of the "buy e-book" spotted by +Jennifer Slegg (http://bit.ly/2gZko1X) on Knowledge Graph cards (Google's language here - a.k.a. "Knowledge (Graph) panels"), and provides some insight into her observation about where they come from:

"The most interesting thing about these is that they seem to be organic results and NOT paid. They do not have a sponsored notation next to them."

And they do turn out to be organic - at least for accredited ebook publishers.
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