Well, Google Print for books is here.
Amazon’s “Search Inside the Book” has been around for a while.
It’s worth mentioning that several other services are out there that offer searchable, full text and full image, access to book material online. In many cases, access is free to the end user.
These services don’t place any limits on how much of a book you can read and also allow you to bookmark pages and add notes.
One player in this space is NetLibrary. This Boulder, Colorado company (part of OCLC) has been around since 1998 and offers their service to thousands of libraries around the globe. Currently, NetLibrary offers access to about 76,000 books with about 1300 new titles added each month.
The user accesses NetLibray via their local public or university library. With a library card, you can “virtually” check-out and read books (full image) without having to visit the libary building. That’s right, 24x7x365 access. In many cases, content can be printed.
NetLibrary continues to bring new publishers on board. In September they announced a deal with Penguin USA.
Another company is ebrary. This California company has been in business since 1999 and is under the direction of Christopher Warnock. You can read an interview with him here. ebrary provides access to more than 50,000 titles (books, maps, sheet music, etc.). Like NetLibrary, ebrary licenses their service to libraries and educational organizations and users can login and access via any computer with web access.
ebrary also offers a program (if you’re library doesn’t offer the service for free) where you can register and access more than 20,000 books from more than 180 publishers. Once registered, you can read (make notes, bookmark) all the you want for free. However, there is a per page charge to copy and print material (up to a limit determined by the publisher).