Google Searching Your Bookshelf

Back in February, I reviewed all the book-oriented social networks I could find and concluded that what I really wanted was a more personalized version of Google Books. The rich related content with which Google surrounds many books is what makes it so valuable. Compare the book information pages for A History of Underground Comics (for example) side-by-side Mahalo-style on Google Books, LibraryThing and Shelfari.

Today Google Books launched My Library, effectively ending my whining.

Now LibraryThing has a lot of great features and is rolling out new ones constantly—and when it comes to socializing around books, LT and Shelfari are apparently where it’s at—but the one thing none of these bookish social networks offer is full-text search of the books in your collection. Google’s got that and suddenly, for the first time, I’m thinking it might actually be worthwhile to start cataloging my books online. Put in a little entry time and you’ll be able to search the contents of your entire book collection in under a second. They call that a value proposition.

Only problem now is most of the books I’ve been reading lately were published before 1930 by obscure publishing concerns and are as impossible to find in Google Book Search as they are in the real world. But Google’s new embeddable public-domain book-clipping feature pretty much makes up for that.