I Love Amazon

Amazon just came out with a new feature that has to be one the most fantastic things on the net yet. They have scanned 120 000 books and you can now search through them and read the few surrounding pages online! They have an overview of the feature and Wired just prepublished an article from the December issue that covers this new advancement.

With persistence, serendipity and plenty of time in a library, I may have found these titles myself. The Amazon archive is dizzying not because it unearths books that would necessarily have languished in obscurity, but because it renders their contents instantly visible in response to a search. It allows quick query revisions, backtracking, and exploration. It provides a new form of map.

For example, I searched for “Ultimate Fribee” (I’m leaving for a game soon) and the results are surprising including mentions in Dr Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation and The Best Man’s Handbook: A Guy’s Guide to the Big Event . In this case it’s only funny but imagine the possibilities when doing some research. Very powerful and promising. Now if they could add the same thing for movie and tv show dialogues I could flush out most of the content of my head and just find it again at Amazon :).

[Later] A pretty insightful story by Steve Berlin Johnson with some good ideas of where the book search could go.

One Comment

blork October 24, 2003

It’s an awesome feature. On the other hand, it begs the question of the increasing disparity between the “big gun” publishers and small independent publishers. I’m not sure where I stand on it. Small publishers have always had a hard time, and just because the mass market publishers are finding ways to drown out any small amount of publicity that the indies can afford doesn’t necessarily mean the indies are going to do any worse.

I mean, does you local mom & pop burger stand suffer every time McDo comes out with a new ad campaign? Probably not, because those who know mom & pop will continue to go there. On the other hand, with overwhelming advertising and publicity, the young ‘uns who don’t know about mom & pop might never find out because they will naturally gravitate to the one that makes the most noise.

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