From the mail bag: four book views

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 at 4:41 PM

One of the topics we regularly receive questions about is the different ways we display books. For example, João from Portugal asks:
I thought that we could read the whole content of books on Google, but I can only read the Table of Contents and a few other pages of this book, then buy the book afterwards. How can I read the entire book?

Searching around on Book Search, you'll see that we display books in different ways depending on the specific copyright status of each title. Given the status, we range from making the entire text of public domain books available to showing either small snippets or simply bibliographic details about in-copyright books. For books that authors and publishers have submitted to us, you can see a limited preview of the pages.

The four ways you'll see books in Google Book Search

Full View

For books in Full View, you can view the entire book. These include books that we've verified are in the public domain, or those that the publisher or author has decided to make fully browsable. Some examples of materials presented in Full View (in the U.S.) are Charles Sumner's eulogy for Abraham Lincoln from 1865 and a collection of Edgar Allan Poe's stories from 1903.

Limited Preview

For books that fall into this category, you can view a limited number of pages. These books have been submitted through our Partner Program by copyright holders in order to enable you to find and browse (and purchase!) their books. A few examples include Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events series, or the late Octavia Butler's powerful novel Kindred.

Snippet View

Books that may still be in copyright that we don't receive through the Partner Program are displayed in Snippet View. For these books, you can view a few sentences in addition to bibliographic information. For example, you can view mentions of China in the 1937 report, Japan in Jeopardy, or check out references to man-eating sharks in the 1940's title This Amazing Planet.

No Preview Available

For some books -- like dictionaries -- we display only basic information about the books. You're still searching the full text of these books from, so you'll be able to figure out if your search term appears anywhere within the book, even if it's not in the title or index. You can find out details about Webster's New World Crossword Puzzle Dictionary or see basic information about this Pocket English-Bengali Dictionary.

Our goal is to provide everyone with a good Book Search experience, while at the same time protecting the copyrights of publishers and authors. Some books may start out with no preview or in Snippet View, and later be shown in Limited Preview or Full View as we partner with the copyright owners or confirm that the book is in fact in the public domain. In the meantime, we'll continue to be conservative in our display of the books in Google Book Search.

We hope this helps clear up some of the confusion -- we want you to get the most out of Book Search. If you have any additional questions about these different book views, send us a note -- we'll be happy to answer them.


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