Thursday, 27 September 2007

Google Books - How cool is this...?

Putting together a presentation for the Scholastic sales reps I am meeting tomorrow, I stumbled across the most fabulously useful thing - Google Book Search.

Google, as you may know if you're an online information nerd like me (hey I did work in the area for five years so I'm allowed...), are planning to digitize all the books in the world. Well, as many as they can get their mitts on. There was a hoo-hah about this for a while. Quelle horreur, authors and publishers all going to lose out; that sort of thing.

Well today I had planned to do the following - for just one of my presentation slides:

1. Go downstairs and find my copy of 'Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan' by the original Mayanist, John Lloyd Stephens.
2. Find the page where he mentions the rumours of a 'living city' of the Maya
3. Go down to our garden office and scan the page.
4. Manipulate the image file on my computer at my desk, back in the house.
5. Pop it into the Powerpoint slide.

Not so difficult, aye, but remember I actually own this book.

But with Google Books, here's how that scenario played out:

1. Search on Google, find the book.
2. Search for the string 'living city' - find the right page.
3. Use the inbuilt screenshot clipping tool to clip an image of the page, the bit where he mentions the mysterious city
4. Pop it into the Powerpoint slide.

5 mins in total.

to exercise any control over them But the thing that roused us was the assertion by the padre that four days on the road to Mexico on the other side of the great sierra was a living city large and populous occupied by Indians precisely in the same state as before the discovery of America He had heard of it many years before at the village of Chajul and was told by the villagers that from the topmost ridge of the sierra this city was distinctly visible He was then young and with
Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan By John Lloyd Stephens
Now is that not awesome?

(If you read 'Invisible City' you'll find that this section of the 'Incidents of Travel' book is referenced. I'm not saying why...that's all a bit of a mystery, to be unraveled in later books...)


I have one lovely comment from a guy who read the book for the waterstones competition, but you should be warned that there are spoilers for INVISIBLE CITY therein...



Lucas said...

Oh yeah! Wow. You really are clever. :-)
I found the Joshua Files Invisible City the best book i've read, simply because of the whole concept of the book. The idea that Ancient Mayans may actually be alive still. But it was amazing how you packed so much in. And after halfway i wanted too stop. (Camilla) but the last page i liked VERY much indeed.


MG said...

WOW! Genuine reader feedback! Lucas you are the first person I've met outside the publishing industry who's read the book! I'm so glad you like the ending.
I hope the sales reps I meet tomorrow like the concept too.

I'm a bit tipsy, had 3 glasses of champagne at the launch party for the Oxford Marketing Club...

Lucas said...

Really? That's a coincedince. :-D
I'm sure it will go FINE. If it's being published it's not going to be a disaster. I know my local waterstones will be stocking up on the book.