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Google Not Planning to Extend Book Search to Magazines

Google_book_searchAccording to this article, Google isn't likely to extend their Book Search program into the magazine world.  If I were a magazine publisher I'd be disappointed with this news.  It's a missed opportunity to make your archives discoverable and usable through the world's largest search platform.

Sure, some magazines offer archive search functionality as a special feature that's available only to their (paying) print subscribers.  What would happen if they'd open it up to the public?  How many paying customers would cancel their subscriptions?  Not many.  After all, how many people subscribe to a print magazine just so they can get access to the archives?  Some magazine publishers may not want to participate in this sort of program because they feel they're better off providing paid access to their archives.  Great.  Opt out of this program and see whether your competitors benefit.

The article says paper quality made scanning/digitizing the content difficult at best and that magazine publishers don't have usable archives.  Their archives may not be suitable for scanning or electronic delivery today, but wouldn't it be pretty simple to adjust the production process a bit and create an electronic rendering of the entire magazine for this purpose?  So what if you don't have archives from yesterday or last year.  Start now.

I'm surprised the amount of freely viewable content wasn't a major issue.  On the book side a publisher can set a percentage limit.  So any given visitor can only see a maximum of x% of the book at a time.  Let's say that's 15%, for example; that's a good ceiling for a 400-page book but it represents a couple of pretty long articles in a magazine, including the entire article the reader was probably searching for.

I hope Google reconsiders their position on this.  As a frequent user of their search tools I'm pretty sure I'd get a lot of mileage out of a Google Magazine Search utility.


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