The book world is buzzing today with the news that Google has released tools that will allow "anyone with a Website" (that means retailers, libraries, and bloggers alike) to embed entire books or book previews on their websites.
Not every book is available for this service, of course. Books under copyright can't legally be displayed this way, but anything in the public domain is up for grabs, and as the LA Times pointed out in its book blog yesterday, "this might do for public domain books what YouTube's embeddable player did for online video."
Amazon has had a similar "Search Inside This Book" feature since 2003, but now Google's move will give other retailers comparable capacity. Books-a-Million and a handful of other global retailers are reportedly already on board, with Borders, Buy.com, and Powell's Books said to be planning to sign on within the next few weeks, along with several libraries, publishers, and social book sites.
It's also bound to have an impact on all of us who write book blogs. As one blogger puts it, it's a chance to "give your visitors something more exciting to flip through than your latest ramblings."