Amazon has been doing this search-the-entire-book search for a few weeks now. Here is what the New York Times has to say about it: In Amazon’s Text-Search, a Field Day for Book Browsers
It sounded cool, so I tried it and discovered it really was cool. Here’s my example: for a long time I was trying to remember a quote by Stanislaw Ulam about nuclear physics and the bomb. The quote, paraphrased, was something like, “It’s amazing how a few scribbles on a blackboard can change history.” I had read it in a great big very good book called “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” by Richard Rhodes, but I don’t own the book, and I couldn’t find it on the web, so I had to make a special trip to the bookstore to find and write down that quote. So for my Amazon test, I typed
“stan ulam scribbles”
and in a few seconds I had my answer.
It is still an unending source of surprise for me to see how a few scribbles ona blackboard or on a sheet of paper could change the course of human affairs.
Read what Jon Udell has to say about Amazon’s new service. He points out one of the big advantages of the feature: getting more value out of your own library. Just as I used Napster to grab music that I owned but was too lazy to walk downstairs for, this search tool is a great way to pick information out of books on your bookshelf.