A writer discovers Google Book Search

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 at 3:12 PM

Riffing off of Dan's post last week about how Google Book Search is great for doing research, I wanted to pass along a story from an author who's using Google Book Search to help write his next book.
I was at a community swimming pool in New York City last summer when I heard about Google Book Search from a friend who works at Google. I had never heard of Google Book Search, but I use Google like everyone else, when I need to get information.

The next day it dawned on me that while I'm in the process of writing a new book, Google Book Search might be a useful tool for my research. I'm writing a biography, so I went to the site and typed in my subject's name. Instantly, I got all these references to books where he appeared. Each reference would give me the 2-3 pages where he was the subject of that particular book, and I could tell from reading that short synopsis whether the book was something I could use. I went out and bought books, borrowed books from libraries, and even tracked down some from my own collection that I hadn't realized before were relevant. In the old days, it would have taken half a day to go the library, find the book, wait for the book and then determine if it helped or not. Now, I can do that work in five to ten minutes. That is truly amazing.

I come down very strongly in favor of what Google is doing. The bottom line is that I wound up going and buying books that I never even knew about while also saving a ton of time on research.

To read more from Warren Kozak, check out his latest book, The Rabbi of 84th Street: The Extraordinary Life of Haskel Besser.

Have a similar story? We'd love to hear it.


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