Google Lets You Embed Books

    September 22, 2008
    Chris Crum

Today, Google has made the books that it features in Google Book Search available to embed on any website, similar to the way you can embed a YouTube video. Here’s how.

While embedding books may not be as popular as videos since people are unlikely to read an entire book when they visit your site/blog, it is still a nice, and potentially useful feature in some cases. I’m thinking it could be especially useful for tutorial-type books, and even short story collections.

Google Book Preview

Come to think of it, this could be a great selling tool for book retailers as well. Think about a brick and mortar Barnes & Noble store for example, where people are allowed to sit in chairs and on benches and peruse a book at their leisure before making a purchase decision. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that same luxury while shopping for a book online? In fact, a number of booksellers are already implementing it, with more on the way according to Google.

This is also going to serve as an interesting social tool for booklovers. "We are also providing new ways for these sites to display full-text search results from Book Search, and even integrate with social features such as ratings, reviews, and readers’ book collections," says Alex Diaz, Product Manager of Google Book Search. "By providing tools that help sites connect readers with books in new and interesting ways, we hope publishers and authors will find even wider audiences for their works."

Google is working with some schools to offer the embeddable books in online library catalogs. Perhaps, public libraries will get on board eventually as well. Combine this with Google’s recently announced objective of indexing all the world’s newspaper archives, and you will have one heck of an online library at your disposal.

There are some new Google Book Search features that integrate with existing social book sites as well. "You can now import your Book Search My Library collection straight into your aNobii account, or preview books within the weRead gadget for social networks," says Diaz. "Be sure to also try out the exciting integrations by BookJetty, GoodReads, and BookRabbit." They have made the features available via open API, so more sites can get involved as well.

I’ve been waiting for Google to do more with Book Search, and am glad to see some new innovations happening there. I would personally like to see them expand their catalog greatly. I’m sure they would like to do so as well, but rights issues are always a concern.