The patter of references to Google Book Search in these blogs since August may have betrayed our interest in offering a service to book publishers. We have for some weeks been testing how Exact Editions works as a promotional service to book publishers and the first customisation is now in the open for Berkshire Publishing at http://www.exacteditions.com/berkshirepublishing.
Berkshire Publishing is a young and highly innovative publisher of academic and general reference titles (Berkshire MA not UK). They have produced a list of outstanding and ambitious multi-volume reference works in the last decade. We are pleased to be helping promote these great resources in a web environment. The entire books are available and searchable for a limited period through this promotional service. A typically bold move from Berkshire's CEO, Karen Christensen. Her decision makes me wonder why publishers do not as a matter of course make their new titles available for free for a limited period through the web? Surely there is no better way of promoting a title? Opening access for a limited period makes complete sense. Complete commercial sense if the aim is to sell more books.
The Berkshire Encylcopedia of World History runs to well over 2,000 large format, double column, pages. It employs three different page numbering schemes over five volumes. So it was quite a challenge for our automated clickable-indexing system. Here is a typical index entry (hint: the clipping is a link to the index page. You will need to click on the clipping, which is just a fragment of JPEG to see the live index pages):
With such a large book, in several volumes, instant searchability encourages a different sort of browsing. Here are the results of three searches on three african geo terms: Khartoum, Tanzania, and Durban. For the Tanzania search its very handy the way that the search term is highlighted in the thumbnail images on the search results; and then again on the page when you click through. Here is the first result on a search for 'China' + 'Buddhism'.
Which (if you click on the clipping) takes you to the very map which tells the story of the spread of Buddhism. These books are hugely informative and for a month or two available to all and to everywhere.....