Google Books crackdown?

Is it just me, or has Google Books been taking down a lot of its pre-1923 works over the past year or so? Works that I’ve easily accessed before in ‘Full view’ (and fortunately downloaded) are now ‘No preview’, and many (particularly 18C English works) now only seem to link to those parasitical companies that republish and sell Google Book scans on Amazon (or maybe they even have a contract with Google).

Admittedly, Google Books’ metadata is still crap and its search results can be eclectic, but it seems there are far fewer useful hits than in the past. Anyone else notice this? Maybe I’m just losing my google-fu…

If this is a real trend, is this monetization in action? The impact of Google’s agreements with publishers? Have people been talking about this already?

In either case, I once again offer this public service announcement: always save online resources to your own drive – you never know when they’ll be disappeared.


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3 responses to “Google Books crackdown?”

  1. Wienand Drenth says :

    I haven’t noticed this, since in Europe it has always been a pain to access in full view those old works ‘available’ on Google Books. I don’t know exactly why, but probably it has to do with different copyright rules. Fortunately, much is also available via the internet archive.

    As for the parasites, they make easy money on the scanning labour of others.

  2. Ben Trotter says :

    I have noticed it as well. And having purchased a hard copy of one volume I particularly wanted in hard-copy, I was forced to send it back because it was worthless. The caveat about flaws was understated. The issue was not with the original but with the scan created: dozens of pages only partially scanned or too blurry to read. It was so bad that it was obvious even from a cursory flip- through. I’m bothered by the lack of even the most basic quality control by the publisher and GoogleBooks. I have seen more gloved hands than I have wanted to!

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