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Google’s Book Search Widget

[poll id="99"]

Google has released a “Book Search” widget wherein anyone with tech knowledge can “emembed a Google-hosted preview of up to 20% of any book that has been included in the Google Book Search database.” Books-A-Million, Blackwell Bookshop, Borders and Powells will offer this Google Preview service. This is similar to the “search inside” feature at Amazon.com.

I’m not really sure I get widgets. Some publishers offer countdown clocks. Others offer “buy” link widgets. I find myself unmoved by widgets. Often they are ugly and take too long to load. What’re your thoughts?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

13 Comments

  1. Karen
    Sep 23, 2008 @ 20:44:38

    Another annoying issue is that they don’t work on some older computers (like mine!). When a web site installs a widget, they often make a previous action incompatible. For example, Amazon’s Search Inside. You used to be able to click on a book cover and see a larger image of the book – something I used a lot for the cover contest. Now, if I click on a cover, I get a message: “The Amazon Online Reader does not work with your web browser.” But I don’t want to use the online reader. I want to see a larger image of the cover! The image still exists, but I can’t access it because I can’t use the online reader.

    I end up going to the B&N web site instead, since they don’t use those fancy widgets, and they’re still compatible with my clunky old computer.

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  2. Val Kovalin
    Sep 23, 2008 @ 20:52:38

    Karen, another option for bookcovers can be found at

    http://www.librarything.com/

    It’s free to join, and you can often choose from a variety of covers uploaded by others.

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  3. MoJo
    Sep 23, 2008 @ 21:27:17

    I use widgets on my site (I’m using WordPress) for most of what I have in my sidebars, but they’re the simple ones. However, I do code my blogroll directly into the sidebar php.

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  4. theo
    Sep 23, 2008 @ 21:40:33

    I use two, I think two, and they’re very small so they don’t take long to load at all. I use typepad and have them coded in my sidebar as well.

    What I can’t stand are the sites that have a java or flash front end that takes 30 seconds to load, and then I can’t find the ‘skip intro’ button. I want the information. If they want to give me a show, give me something to click on.

    But that’s me. A lot of people really like the front end show. :)

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  5. MaryK
    Sep 23, 2008 @ 21:48:10

    Don’t know much about widgets, but using the Google Books previews has helped me decide whether or not to buy a book.

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  6. MoJo
    Sep 23, 2008 @ 21:49:01

    A lot of people really like the front end show.

    They do?! ;) (I hate it, too.)

    Oh, another thing. The single most useful widget to me, on any blog, is the “recent posts” widget. If I could only have one widget, that’s the one I’d have.

    My bookstore site has a plugin for e-commerce that has a shopping cart sidebar widget. Clean and simple, the way I like it. I can’t deal with cluttered sites very well.

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  7. theo
    Sep 23, 2008 @ 21:56:15

    MoJo…that’s what I read in all the design articles. I’d like to know one, just one, of those ‘lot of people’ though. Haven’t met one yet! :)

    I agree. The ‘recent posts’ widget is probably the number one thing I look for on any blog/website.

    And I don’t deal with all that clutter either. The more clutter, the less likely I am to spend any time on the site.

    *sigh*

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  8. roslynholcomb
    Sep 23, 2008 @ 22:21:02

    I hate a cluttered site as well. Even when it comes to the epubs, I only buy from one and it’s because its site is the easiest to read. It’s like people don’t understand that white space is there for a reason.

    As for widgets and whatnot? Maybe it’s because my computer is old as well, but I loathe them. I have very limited time to read a blog and if it takes forever to load I’ll probably click off and never go back. Too annoying.

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  9. MoJo
    Sep 23, 2008 @ 22:24:32

    Even when it comes to the epubs, I only buy from one and it's because its site is the easiest to read.

    Roslyn, I think your site’s beautiful. I go to your site to look at all the pretty. :D

    I bought some books from Samhain today and was very pleasantly surprised by their overhauled shopping cart. Very clean, very easy to navigate, all the information in the most intuitive spots. I was very, VERY impressed.

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  10. Angela James
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 08:15:47

    I bought some books from Samhain today and was very pleasantly surprised by their overhauled shopping cart. Very clean, very easy to navigate, all the information in the most intuitive spots. I was very, VERY impressed.

    Yay! It’s nice to have feedback, especially when we had such a huge change. Sometimes people have trouble with something new, so it’s great to know we changed for the better! Thanks.

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  11. SonomaLass
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 17:23:39

    I like my widgets, but they are GUI widgets. From the comments here, you are talking about web widgets, a different thing altogether. I probably would have answered your poll differently if I had realized this.

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  12. RfP
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 20:04:37

    I like my widgets, but they are GUI widgets. From the comments here, you are talking about web widgets, a different thing altogether.

    Me too. I assumed the Google widget was for my desktop, not for my website.

    ReplyReply

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