I’ve played around a bit with some widgets on my blog, namely the Random House one and the HarperCollins one. The thing that I didn’t like about those widgets is that they gave me access to limited content, not to mention the speed and navigation in those widgets was/is atrocious.
Well, now Google has announced a new Google Book Search browsable widget (and some other tools) and in the same announcement they have announced partnerships with retailers that already are using the widget live on their sites—a diverse group of retailers like Books-A-Million, Blackwell Bookshop, The Book Depository in the UK, A1Books in India, Librería Norma in Colombia, Van Stockum in the Netherlands, and Livraria Cultura in Brazil. And Google has aspirations to add this functionality to even more booksellers in the coming weeks including Borders.com, Buy.com, and Powell’s Books. (Could this be the widget to save Borders? enquiring minds want to know.)
In some ways Google efforts here seem to be altruistic, leveling the playing field for those “smaller” more resource strapped retailers. And yet, one cannot forget the ongoing battle Google is engaged in with publishers and authors over copyright and their book scanning program. Is this one of those Napoleonic maneuvers that Google is adept at to do an end run, get retailer investment and uptake and then create more pressure on publishers to give up the battle?
That I don’t know, and if it is I don’t know if it will even work. What I do know is that I like the way the widget works—zooming and searching it’s way through a text. This seems like a disruptive widget, and who knows, if I ever unearth my blog again I may even use it there.