Why Your Book Should Be Indexed

    December 6, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Forget about the legal battles where fair use and copyright issues come into play; the real trick for authors and publishers is to learn exactly how online book search can help people find their books in the first place.

Will book search help you as a publisher, or is the discussion just a lot of words to you? Let us know what you think on WebProWorld.

WebProNews staffer Chris Richardson sat in on the Book Search session taking place yesterday at SES Chicago, where the dynamics of indexing books for searchers took center stage.

Amazon.com director of digital media Dan Rose talked about how his website puts a virtual spin on the process of leafing through a book online. Searches for text can return results that are “on-the-page” of a book indexed by Amazon (not just metadata), and users can leaf through a few sample pages online.

The desired result is to sell more books, and in comparing books that have been indexed to those that are not, searchable books sell incrementally better. Amazon has put limits in place to prevent abuse of the process, by setting viewing limits and requiring users to login to see more of the available content.

Google Strategic Partner Development Manager Tom Turvey discussed the search advertising company’s controversial Book Search program from a functional perspective, and Google’s mission to organize the world’s information.

Currently, Google’s program is available in eight languages, with further expansion planned. Searchers can access authoritative, comprehensive content, and find links to purchase the book should they wish it.

The program has robust security features in place to prevent people from simply grabbing an entire book online. Also, Google provides metrics to publishers, all the way down to the ISBN level, to show them how and where their material was accessed. And Google will not make 100 percent of a book available online.

Turvey noted that publishers who are working with Google have been seeing results from the program. For Google’s part, it has been delivering contextual ads related to the text of the page delivered to the viewer.

Yahoo Search’s Sumir Meghani touched on his company’s participation in the Open Content Alliance. Books aren’t the only focus for Yahoo in its desire to index content; all spoken word and multimedia content fit into their FUSE (find, use, share, and expand) concept.

MSN has likewise joined the OCA, and Thiru Anandanpillai, Senior Product Manager, MSN Search, said Microsoft’s motivation to answer more user queries brought them to book search. He claimed a majority of user queries go unanswered.

A study done by MSN found users needed 7 to 11 minutes to find information online. By implementing book search with greater publisher controls, they hope to improve the overall online search experience.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.