I've had this conversation enough lately that I thought it'd be worth putting into article form.
Read it. Pass it along. Knowledge is power; at this point, there's no reason anyone should be caught off-guard by this.
I love Google Books, but I have some issues. For instance, I generally want to find the oldest copies I can of the stuff I'm researching. Usually the books I'm looking for were first published in the 18th or 19th centuries, but when I search on some text, Google Books only displays the most recently published copies (2000 to 2013), that are invariably "preview-only" (and viewers are encouraged to buy). I actually have to root around searching on the book's title before I'm able to find an early copy that is readable in full.
Sometimes the oldest copies have "no preview" or are "snippet-view" only, while the newest ones are "preview-only" (again, encouraged to buy). Since the copyright on these books has long run out, some are even available in full view on Project Gutenberg, archive.org, or Wiki Source. It defies logic that they wouldn't be available in full on Google Books.
Also, I've noticed lately that the mechanism for reporting OCR errors in books now re-directs to a "Google Play" page, and there is nothing there about reporting such errors. Only links for purchasing things electronic. What's up with that?
All of this lead me to conclude that Google Books is taking a search resource and trying to monetize it. I'm not against making money on it, I'm troubled by the methods. This is a wonderful resource that I'm fully willing to suffer through text or image ads to partake of, but I am not willing to shell out money for. If Google could monetize this resource with ads instead of these kinds of annoying tricks I would be more satisfied than I am with the service.
- Alliance ShippersComputer Programmer/Analyst, 2003 - present
- Rutgers – New BrunswickComputer Science, 1978 - 1982
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