Google Books has unleashed some new features today. Among the changes: they have made it possible to embed pages of a magazine or book in a web page, much as we have been doing with YouTube clips for several years now. This post is just to give me and you a sense of what this looks like in a blog. (This article about the decline of Elaine's restaurant as Woody Allen's favorite place to eat dinner was published in New York magazine in 1987. Imagine if Gawker had been around then to mock it!)
I don't know how readable these stories are in the embed window. The type is a bit small for my eyes, and although it can be enlarged by clicking on the plus-sign magnifying glass icon it still irritates me to see text too small to read. But it's surely a good thing for the culture of print for us to be able to easily excerpt and recirculate snippets of published prose online. It could serve to introduce books more easily and fluidly into online discourse.
Google book search has been an indispensable research tool for me in the past few months. Instead of tracking a book down on one of my shelves or at the library when I know what I'm looking for, I can find quotations and page numbers so easily using book search. The next step, in terms of making my life easier, will be making possible copying portions of text to the clipboard for easy quotation.