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Amazon provides browsing

Of possible interest.

Amazon Takes First, Small, Step Towards Online Browsing

For well over a year now online booksellers have been looking at a variety
of "online browsing" technologies. Yesterday Amazon introduced what sounds
like a watered down version of this idea with their "Look Inside the Book"
feature, available on 25,000 titles to start. Visitors can now see back
covers, flaps, the table of contents, the introduction, and occasionally
more (like sample pages, first chapters, or images for illustrated books).

The Amazon release spins the development as allowing surfers to "flip
through the inside pages of thousands of books," but it's not clear that
reader can browse the pages they'd actually want to see. In their own
words, the site will "feature a vast selection of interior pages from over
25,000 titles, with thousands more titles to come. Whether browsing
recipes found in cookbooks, illustrations from children's books, full
indices of medical textbooks, first chapters from mystery novels or the
millions of other pages available, Amazon.com customers can now explore
these pages to help them find the right book."

But the initiative sounds far short of true online browsing-which would be
great for readers, but might still be misread as threatening by
publishers. Amazon's Steve Kessel indicated "It's something that customers
have been telling us they'd like to do. It's sort of the next logical step
for them in terms of making a purchase decision."

Amazon release

Yahoo story