I stumbled across the fact that Book Depository is using google’s preview function (I assume as part of Google Book’s recent API release: read the blog post and visit the API homepage).
It sits just under the front cover picture and jumps the reader down to the lower portion of the page when clicked. It is a nifty UI though I was a bit puzzled about how I could return to the top at first, and given that you would be hoping to make a sale and the buy button is at the top, this might be an issue!
All told it is a very nice feature. As if I needed a new reason to add books to either my to be read or to be bought piles. The best example I’ve stumbed on so far is this one for Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization.
On a reader/buyer level this is a sweet use of Google’s systems and data. Looking at it from a broader perspective I’d also find little to worry me. On the one hand no one else is really in a position to supply this kind of feature, expect maybe Amazon (who seem unlikely to do so lest they damage the competitive advantage that their Search inside feature offers them).
On the other hand, it seems like a cop out as a publisher to say that it’s okay for Google to be the only one in a position to do this! We must be letting ourselves down somewhere when we admit that!
Still, nice feature and executed well too.