There is a lot of controversy about the Search Inside the Book programs by Amazon.com and Google.com. Some publishers and authors are concerned that too much of the book’s content will be revealed to the public and cut into sales.
I realize there are some kinds of books that probably aren’t well-suited to the book search. If someone is searching for a recipe, for example, and they can find it by searching inside a cookbook, they might be tempted to copy the recipe and not buy the book.
But I think most books benefit from readers being able to read some of the copy. In a bookstore, buyers frequently read the back cover blurb and the first paragraphs or pages of a book to decide whether it appeals to them. When buying online, the Search Inside the Book offers the same opportunity.
Spring House has been available at Amazon.com but the first sale didn’t happen until after author David Bowles added the “Search Inside” feature. Coincidence? Maybe …
Spring House is also part of Google.com‘s Book Search. I’ll be watching both of these programs with the optimistic view that sales will increase as more people can flip through the pages of the book online as they would in a bookstore.