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A Modest Proposal to and/or Google Books

November 10, 2010

As I’ve said, the two sources above have been providing me not only with immediate gratification in my research, but also with access to at least parts of some books unavailable to me (at least until I’m officially a student and qualified to make ILL requests).  Unfortunately, I keep hitting “this page is not available in this preview.”  So I have an idea that could make money for both the website and the publishers/authors.

For a certain amount of money, offer me either a “tiered” level of access to searchable books, i.e. 50, 100, unlimited pages per month, or a “per page” charge (say .01 per page, which even with a 1,000 page book only comes out to $10).  You can compensate the sources the way music publishing does, i.e. either by “licensing” the book from the publisher the way a radio station would, or by giving them a percentage of the profit on each page viewed.  I’ve got the Bronzino book from the library, but let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to type “Pierino da Vinci” into a search box to find what I read than to hunt him down in the book through the index…especially if he’s missing from said index.  You make money, the publishers and authors make money, and I have the world at my fingertips.  What’s not to like?

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