Amazon Opens Up the Books
The site is allowing full-text searches and fully viewable pages for 120,000 books.Amazon has some ambitious new plans for book browsers. The site has added a capability called Search Inside the Book, which allows full-text searching and online viewing of every page in 120,000 books. The new offering, a result of deals struck with nearly 200 publishers, is based on proprietary search technology. During a demonstration for PC Magazine editors, we used the new features to successfully search copyrighted books for Mongolian beef recipes and instructions for fixing leaky faucets. "The Search Inside the Book features followed our Look Inside the Book work we had already been doing, where tables of contents and other select parts of books were available to look at," says Udi Manber, an Amazon vice-president and the companys chief algorithm officer. Manber was behind the development of Search Inside the Book. He says the database, which contains over 33 million pages, is several terabytes in size, and the search technology was years in the making.
To get an idea of how the new features work, go to Amazons site (www.amazon.com) and search for "deconstructionism" in the main search window under the books category. You will discover several books that feature the word in their bodies. If you select one result, "Closing of the American Mind" by Alan Bloom, you will see the "Search Inside" logo, which you can click on to search further. Click on the logo and search for "Saul Bellow," and youll find several passages you can read that contain mentions of Blooms Nobel Prize-winning friend. A How It Works page demonstrates the new features and provides sample searches. The service is free, but to view book pages you do need to have a credit card on file with Amazon.