Your library, my library

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 11:27 AM

A few months ago, we launched My library. We are always looking to improve this feature and make it more useful for book lovers, so we recently made a few tweaks to make your library feel more personal and to make it easier to share with others.

Here's an example of one of these improvements. The other day, I was reading the user reviews for The Undercover Economist and ran across one that I found particularly helpful. So I clicked on the link to "View Piaw's library" and uncovered a great variety of interesting books, both fiction and non-fiction.

I especially enjoyed Piaw's insightful book reviews, and so I made a mental note to come back to his collection for future recommendations. Conveniently, a recent improvement has made that easier to do. Under the user profile, we've added a button to "Add [user name] to my favorites".

When I click it, a new link appears in my own library. With this handy link, I can come back to check out Piaw's library at any time for more reading inspiration. Read the full post 0 comments


From the Mailbag: Report scanning errors in a cinch

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 9:47 AM

Welcome to another edition of "From the Mailbag," where we respond to emails from Google Book Search users. This week's message comes from Albert F., who writes:
"I can't find a way to report a scanned book in the Google repository that has page corruption (specifically a hand where text should appear). It would be nice to have some kind of link in the browser that specifically says something like Report a problem with this book rather than the generic 'general feedback' link."
Albert, it seems that you share an ESP-like connection with Google engineers, because we've been working on just this feature. You'll now find a link next to all book pages on Google Book Search which allows you to submit an unreadable page to our team for review. There's no need to fill anything out – when you click this link, we'll detect the issue with the page you're looking at and get on the case. Here's where you'll find the link:

So it's not exactly "Report a problem with this book," but hey, we're pretty close! We're always working to make sure that we're showing accurate scans for the books in our index, and this is an important step towards that goal. Don't worry, though – if you want to send us feedback as before, you can still do so from this page. Read the full post 0 comments


Celebrating Valentine's Day with Google Book Search

Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Today is Valentine’s Day, the most romantic holiday of all. If you read this and suddenly realize that you’ve forgotten to do something for a special someone, just remember the inscription on the back of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: "Don’t Panic." Google Book Search can help you out.

Roses are a common Valentine’s Day gift, but if you want to put extra thought into your bouquet, look no further than The Language of Flowers. This link will take you right to the table of contents, where you can learn how to convey feelings like amiability (jasmine), the first emotions of love (lilac), or even the remarkably nuanced, “your qualities surpass your charms” (mignonette), through your florist. As you page through, keep an eye out for this 150-year-old book's beautiful full-color plate illustrations.

Let’s say you’d rather stimulate your valentine's senses through taste rather than smell. My own personal suggestion is to bake a cake (I’d go a step further and say that it should have as much chocolate as possible, but I grant that’s a personal choice). I dare you not to get excited about some of the recipes you can browse in the New Good Cake Book, or these cake decoration tips. And should you require any help whatsoever serving fair portions of the cake, Cake-Cutting Algorithms has 181 pages of mathematical analysis to make sure no one feels remotely cheated (no joke).

I’ll leave you with some of Charles Lamb’s amusing reflections on using the heart to symbolize love, looking at the phenomenon through a lens decidedly less metaphorical than literal:
“What authority we have in history or mythology for placing the head-quarters and metropolis of God Cupid in this anatomical seat rather than in any other, is not very clear; but we have got it, and it will serve as well as any other. Else we might easily imagine, upon some other system which might have prevailed for anything which our pathology knows to the contrary, a lover addressing his mistress, in perfect simplicity of feeling, ‘Madam, my liver and fortune are entirely at your disposal.’”
May your own liver have company this Valentine’s Day! Read the full post 0 comments


From the mail bag: Where can I get this book?

Thursday, February 07, 2008 at 6:03 PM

It’s time for another post “From the mail bag,” where we publish an email from one of our users and tackle it head-on. Here's a message from Bob in Arlington, Texas, who’s new to Google Book Search:
“I have found a book that I am interested in. It has been scanned. I have added it to My Library, but I cannot find out how to access or buy it. How can I do that?”
So you've discovered a great book, and after getting to know it a little bit, you've added it to your personal online collection. You feel ready to take the next step, but how do you seal the deal?

Take a look at the right hand column of the Google Book Search interface, where you'll see the ‘Buy this book’ heading:

We’ve partnered with a whole lot of publishers (over 10,000) to bring you previews of their books on Google Book Search. If the book you’ve found was submitted by one of these publishers, you'll often find that the first link takes you directly to their website. In this case, you could follow the first link to purchase the book directly from its publisher, Routledge.

You'll also find links that take you to various online bookstores. You’ll see different links depending on where you're located, since we try to make sure you get geographically relevant sites.

Finally, you’ll see a link to ‘Find this book in a library.’ We work with major union catalogs like WorldCat so we can show you which libraries closest to you have your book available.

That's not all, though -- when a book is no longer under copyright where you live, we work to ensure that you have the option to download a PDF copy, which you can print and read at your own pace.

And with that, we've finished our tour of ways you can get a print copy of an intriguing book. We hope it helps those of you who've chanced to run into a book a few times to "make the connection"... Read the full post 0 comments