(Amazon’s new Search Inside preview, originally uploaded by mathowie)
I haven’t heard that Amazon updated the “Search Inside” feature with a whizbang new page browsing interface until I stumbled upon it last night. It’s very easy to use, quicker than the old method, and honestly it’s the first thing that comes close to standing in a store and leafing through a book.
Like the old book preview, it lets you browse through about 20 pages before blocking you, but this book in the screenshot had so many good garden ideas, I bought it from Amazon.
So here’s my idea for Amazon: copy something from the book of O’reilly. They have these services called Rough Cuts and Safari which help them sell books online. The cool thing that O’reilly does is once you purchase say, the Flickr Hacks book, they give you instant online access to the full text as a PDF.
Now, I’m not saying Amazon should give away PDF copies of everything I buy (though that does sound cool, I imagine the publishers would go apeshit over it), but you’ve got this great reader interface now and the full content of the entire book. After I purchase the book and it’s on the way to my door, how about lifting the 20 page limit on viewing?
Why not offer full online access to purchased books immediately after purchase (provided customers agree they can’t cancel the book order after viewing the content)? I know this book will get here on Tuesday, but it’d be cool if I could leaf through the whole thing and look at the rest of the pictures (what I normally do in a store — I buy and take it home to read the full text).
update: D’oh: They already have this (sadly, not many books are eligible — thanks Jason)
Amazon is also looking to add download access to digital files on purchased physical cds via their new music service… Pretty cool except they’re reportedly only offering them in WMV format: http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/portable-media/more-on-amazons-music-service-171796.php
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