Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Browse Inside" Gives Readers Free Access to Harper Collins Books

Harper Collins now gives limited-time access to full versions of books in electronic text through their "Browse Inside" beta application. linked to a post on National Public Radio (NPR) where they presented a short blurb on Sneak Peeks by Publishers online:
"As an experiment, HarperCollins has posted complete electronic editions of a few books for free on its Web site, including titles by some of its well known authors. The publisher plans to post a fraction of new titles online before their publishing date as a "sneak peek.""
I decided to visit Harper Collins and look into the electronic books they were sharing. I found a link from their home page to "Browse Inside - Try Before You buy", which I linked above. I found a nice graphic/banner that shows how to access the full text, search through the book for keywords and phrases, see search results as highlighted text within the book and a linked table of contents to access the chapters and contents.
I counted 21 titles on the "Browse Inside" page that could be read. They were divided into featured books that are new releases, recent releases and most viewed. I randomly checked titles and found that they appeared to have the full book on all of them. I was impressed. Of course you can't use text to speech with them and you are literally having to read them online from the site, but what a great idea. They live up to the message "full access" that they have put in the graphic for this resource.
I am glad to see that some companies are getting the concept that in order to get something you need to give something. The dynamic of this plays out naturally in the blogging and web 2.0 world of viral growth. As we share blogs and posts by others, the word gets passed and our blogs get shared as well as the ones we share about. By giving first we build credibility, return readers, etc. In a recent Wired Magazine, the cover read "Free Stuff" in large letters. The magazine addressed the trend where the corporate web world is adding the blog to their sites, looking for web 2.0 interactivity and beginning to give free material and limited free releases of product.
I am glad to see the publishing industry jump on board with some free online books to browse and read - just as itunes gives out their songs of the week. Whoever is spearheading the marketing with this project at Harper Collins should be applauded for allowing their books to be shared in this way. For those of you looking for free text to read - this will be a great site to add to your favorites.
Don't forget to check out the kidthing today with Larry Hitchcock on No Limits to Learning Live where we will have to talk about the free giving concept to marketing as it applies to their give away of "Horton Hears A Who" by Dr. Seuss on their kidthing site. We will discuss the birth of the site, the concept, what is has and how it can be used for AT applications in education. Check them out and the interview on my sidebar on the Blog Talk Radio Player Thursday, May 29 at 10:30 a.m. Pacific time.
All the best to you!

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