Google’s Display of Pages

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I went as Tim suggested to I had no idea Google was doing this, though it appears pretty similar to what has been doing for a while. I have no fully formed opinion on the matter, but my gut reaction is, as long as they have some protections in place to prevent excessive downloading of copyrighted work, it’s probably a good thing. I mean, I put chapters of my books up on my web site in hopes that people will read them and become interested enough to want to read the whole book. This seems like one more way for someone to stumble across your work and maybe buy it, or at least read it. And the material, as I understand it, is supplied by the publishers.

The startling thing was seeing my brother’s book listed under a search of my own name. He’s Charles S. Carver, a psychology professor and coauthor of a well-regarded textbook in personality, as well as a scientific monograph, On the Self-Regulation of Behavior, published in 1998. I was surprised not just at seeing his book, but at seeing a reference to a quote from my novel Panglor in it. I’d completely forgotten that he’d quoted me in his work of serious science. But I pulled my copy of his book off the shelf, and yep, there it was, at a chapter head. That was kind of a cool rediscovery.

By the way, for the same reason I approve of this, I’m glad that used copies of my books are so readily available on the net. Even if it cuts out a few new sales (not that many, I’m guessing), it makes it easy for curious—or impecunious—readers to give my stuff a try. And it’s not as if the publishers are keeping the books in print forever. (The one place where this does grate is when I see Amazon listing used copies of a new book on the date of publication–or even before–which means people are selling off review copies. Still—that’s not as bad as finding one of your own books at a yard sale, with the cover torn off. That has happened to me.) Despite the occasional wince, though, I figure there’s generally no such thing as bad exposure.

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  1. Harry
    | Reply

    I wish publishers did more trade paperback reprints. The reason why I have several bookshelves sagging under the weight of my SF collection is that libraries throw them out very quickly (only good thing about that is I buy some of my books there for a quarter). If I didn’t keep my books from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and even the ’90s on my shelf it would be impossible to obtain them. While authors and publishers retain the rights to books even if they are out of print I think an allowance should be made for google to bring to the public works which publishers refuse to reprint.

    They do reprint some stuff, but at strange intervals. I was just reading my ’79 reprinting of the Phyllis Gotlieb ’64 classic first novel Sunburst when I saw it on the shelf in a new trade paperback edition. What is maddening is that her most recnet 2001 novel Mindworlds is now out of print and only available used!!!

    I think they should do additional printings more often, though I suppose that means one less new novel which is a bad thing. I just wish there was more written these days that I liked — many authors I like are now writing Star Trek, Marvel, Wizards of the Coast and other such novels to make ends meet and those books don’t appeal to me.


  2. tsmacro
    | Reply

    But of course Battlestar Galactica appeals to you, right Harry? *L*

  3. Tim
    | Reply

    haha that’s what i was thinking.

  4. Harry
    | Reply

    Few can do exactly what they would like to do for a living and making ends meet is what its all about. I’m not being judgemental — that pays the bills which is great for them.

    In general I would not buy a Battlestar Galactica book and I probably won’t buy this one but that’s just me. I sincerely hope it sells well and helps to get Jeff’s name out to an audience that may not know of him. That said, I think most readers of Star Trek, Forgotten Realms, etc. don’t see the author’s name for the most part.


  5. Tim
    | Reply

    Jeff don’t feel too bad about finding one of your books at a yard sale. The first book of yours that I bought was Neptune Crossing and that was for $0.50 at a library book sale. But you know what? Because of that 50 cent book, I now own every one of your books.

  6. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Thanks for saying that, Tim! It confirms my feeling that it’s great if people buy used copies of my books–because then they might go out and look for the rest.

    What really stung about seeing it in the yard sale, though, was the missing cover. That means it was most likely stolen goods in the first place. And I *hate* that.

  7. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Harry —

    “That said, I think most readers of Star Trek, Forgotten Realms, etc. don’t see the author’s name for the most part.”

    You’re probably right, but it’s all a matter what you mean by “most.” Conventional wisdom in the industry is that a small but significant fraction of readers *will* notice and give your other work a try. (Not as many as we would like, but better than a poke in the eye, as my editor likes to say.)

  8. tsmacro
    | Reply

    The first book of Jeff’s that I read was loaned to me by a friend. That was Neptune Crossing, he also loaned me the next two in the series. However even though Jeff didn’t make any money off my enjoyment of his writing,at first, I decided that I liked it enough that I had to buy my own copies of those books, especially since I figured there was going to be more in the series oneday i’d want to have them to re-read before I read the new book. I also ended up buying all the Star-Rigger books (recently completed my collection by getting Seas of Ernathe).

    Now as for the whole “Star Trek” thing. Let me just say that I discovered a couple of authors thanks to reading some of the Star Wars books and I have gone on to buy some of their other stuff, most of which i’ve found is usually better than when they’re confined to the rules of another’s universe. So I think you’re right Jeff that all those things do end up working for the better of the author in the end.

    Oh and it just so happens I love Battlestar Galactica so the fact that Jeff is writing that, is “gravy” for me!!

  9. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply


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