Amazon.com, proprietors of the wonderful Search Inside the Book (SITB)
announced a new Amazon Pages program that builds on SITB to allow consumers
to download specific pages, chapters, or the entire book for offline reading.
Elinor Mills reports more in her News.com story,
Amazon, Random House throw book at Google:
Amazon’s new "Amazon Pages" program will let people purchase online access
to anywhere from a few pages of a book to an entire work. The e-commerce
company also announced a program called "Amazon Upgrade" that will let
customers pay extra to be able to access books electronically that they’ve had
shipped to them in printed form. In what could be the first step toward major
publishers offering their works online, Random House said it will negotiate
separate agreements with online booksellers, search engines, entertainment
portals and others to offer the contents of its books to consumers for online
viewing on a pay-per-page basis.
Elinor’s article also reports that Amazon.com will begin the program sometime
in 2006. However, no specific date was given. Of course, digital books available
for purchase are not a new idea but after this announcement, I would plan to see
much more of it from many publishers, online book vendors, and databases. Of
course, the issue of people wanting to read large portions of books in a
non-traditional format is an issue. New technology could change this but many
people want to hold the book in their hands. Of course, for reference use,
online access can be very useful.