Google Book Search Adds My Library, Popular Passages, Embedded Quotes & More

Google announced several new features for Google Book Search. They include:

  • A new “My library” section that allows you to add books and annotations to your personal “library.” Of course, Google allows you to search your library as well
  • You can share your library by adding labels, writing reviews, rating books, and available RSS feeds
  • Explore Popular passages of your favorite books
  • Select, clip and post text with a cool embed feature
  • Additional search refinement options

Here is an overview on my sample library page:

Google Book Search My Library

As you can see, on the left side you can import or export your library. In addition, there is an RSS feed link, so you can allow people to subscribe to your library. In the middle of the page are your books, which you can labels, review, remove from your library or click to learn more about the book.

Here is an example of me reviewing John Battelle’s book, The Search:

Google Book Search Reviews

Below is an example of the new “Popular Passages” section you can find for books that are available for reading. For example, here is a screen capture of some popular passages for Othello:

Google Book Search Popular Passage

Another new and cool feature is the select and embed passage option. In the screen capture below you can see tools at the top that allow you to select an area of the page. As you do that, an embed box shows up under your selection. It looks like this:

Google Book Search Embed Passage

And here is the output of the embed code below:

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: Book Search


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • gary price

    COol stuff for sure.

    A quick note to point out that there are several other services that offer free (or for a small fee) that offer full text books, some even new.

    For a directory of online books (including Google content) take a look at the Online Books Page with special attention to the new additions page/rss feed. Sources, sources, everywhere.

    Next, The Digital Book Index is amazing. Tens of thousands of books. Most free, some fee-based.

    Third, THe World Public Library. Well organized, numerous features and is only $8.95/year

    Next, The Open Library Project

    New books.
    Well, most public libraries, corporate libraries, etc. offer free access to NEW full text books often via a service called NetLibrary, ask your local library if it’s available. This service in many cases also includes downloadable audiobooks.

    All you need is a library card (each library offers various services) and you “virtually check” the book out of the library. In some cases, you don’t even need a library card. An drivers license number of recognized IP will work.

    To give you an idea of what’s out there, here’s what the SF Public Library offers. Again, it’s all free for personal use BUT every library offers different services.

    More in this article from

    More and more libraries are also offering FREE access to Safari. Thousands of NEw full text books from O’Reilly, McGraw-Hill, and others. If your library doesn’t offer it for free you can subscribe to the service.

    What about books for kids? Well, we’ve also mentioned the International Children’s Digital Library many times on ResourceShelf. All of the content is free, available in several languages and looks good. The basic search interface is appealing, useful and dare we say, fun, for both for children and even “older kids.”

    ebrary, a service that offers full text books to organizations that license content also provides Shop ebrary. It’s free to search, browse, read the full text of over 20,000 titles. Pay to print or save a page to your computer.

    Another excellent directory to see if a book is available electronically in any format is at:

    Btw, a national book digitization program recently started in the UK.

    Microsoft Live Book Search is also growing.

    This post (it lists several other sources including the wonderful Shakespeare Digital Library at the Univ. of Victoria and another favorite, the Abraham Lincoln Digital Library at the Univ of Illinois.

    Finally, for previews of new material don’t forget that Amazon Search Inside the Book can be useful.

  • gary price

    A couple more notes about book services. The point is to have a good knowledge of what is available and where to find it. Take advantage of the right tool at the right time.

    ++ Another service offering full text books online is It is often licensed by companies but they also personal subscriptions. Here’s a list of some of the latest titles added. All of these books are full text and unabridged.

    ++ A couple of people sent me notes asking what
    offers in terms of features. NetLibrary offers full text of material (new and old books) for free for personal use via public libraries. All you need is a libary card. In many cases audiobooks are available. A quick call to your local public, academic, etc. library can get you the details.

    The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia
    Note: Both Google and offer limited previews for this book.
    What does NetLibrary offer?
    + Full text and fielded searching (name, author, keyword, etc.)
    + Access to the full text content of the book (all pages, all images, etc.)
    + Add to your “favorites” collection on NetLibrary
    + Bibliographic info (subject headings, etc.) and ability to mail info.
    + Search for All Similar Items
    + Search content of book only
    + Hyperlinked chapters (material is delivered in PDF) and direct links to other parts of the book.
    + Some books allow you to print or save pages
    + Copy and paste text from PDF. (Depending on title)
    + Add notes and comments to your personal page
    + Direct link to American Heritage Dictionary
    + Some books offer hyperlinked citations and indicies

    ++ Finally, for new material a limited preview (what Amazon calls “Search Inside” + the stats they provide might be available from one service but not available at another. In other words, this is yet another example when using more than one service can be useful.

    Example: offers “Search Inside the Book” for Battelle’s “The Search” while Google Book Search offers an overview and related materials but not a limited preview.

  • rustybrick

    Thanks Gary, all great info.

  • gary price

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Like I said in my first post, the new Google features are way cool.

    With that clearly understood, I think it’s also worthwhile to point out that other sites that have been digitizing books and other material also offer provide way cool stuff and again shows why knowing about and using the right site at the right time is the important part.

    Two final points.

    First, a great place to find digitally scanned material is via Dave Mattison’s collection.

    Second, since you use a Shakespeare example, a bit more about the Bard.

    I mentioned earlier about the great work being done building the Internet Shakespeare Editions at the University of Victoria in Canada. As you’ll see their is a lot of material of value to the researcher including the:
    + Shakespeare in Performance: a searchable database of performance materials from over 1000 film and stage productions related to Shakespeare’s works.

    + Bio info, chronologies, maps, and bibliographies, etc.

    But let’s focus on the material from his plays and some poems.

    Various editions, various scans

    Our collection includes a growing number of facsimiles — graphic images — of the books as they were originally published.

    + Here is a text transcript of Macbeth. You can go directly to specific acts/scenes, pages, etc.

    You may also explore some views of the text generated by the computer: a concordance, the actor’s parts, and some statistics concerning the actor’s roles and their appearances.

    Other examples:

    Hamlet and Othello
    You can:

    View, search, print, or cut and paste transcriptions of the old spelling texts as they were originally published. It may come as a surprise to many that Hamlet was originally published in three very different versions.

    + Here are various edition scans of Macbeth. You’ll also see that each Act and Scene by publication is hyperlinked. Nice time saver. You can also compare one book side-by-side with another version. You can also open a window to clearly read only the text.

    + The Illuminated Text, a new resource which shows individual pages of folios, quartos and other original Shakespeare publications in an interactive, visually appealing display.

    + Keyword Search the Texts
    Search includes character speeches and stage directions.
    You can also refine by speaker.

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