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last updated: 11/9/2010

Google Books

What is Google Books?

Google Book Search works with libraries and publishers to provide information about books. Depending on the texts and permissions that have been granted, you may be able to read excerpts or even the whole book online. You will also be able to search within the book to see how often and where your topic is mentioned and learn how to find the book. Google Books also now includes many magazines.

Advantages of Google Book Search

  • Google Book Search searches the full-text of a book, potentially giving you more relevant results for your search.

  • You may be able to view summaries or read books immediately that IUB does not have.

  • This source contains a range of materials, from scholarly books to children’s books, available in many languages. There are also out-of-print books available in full-text.

  • You can read reviews of the book and see where it has been cited, connecting you to other resources.

Searching Google Books

  • It's best to use the Advanced Search because it provides more search options.

  • Use quotation marks around phrases you want to search.

  • Search by ISBN/ISSN - this is useful if you are looking for a specific edition of a book or magazine.

Disadvantages of Google Book Search

  • Many books are limited preview - books that are still in copyright that only provide a limited view of the book. For more information see the Google Books help page.

  • It may not always save you time since you can also access summaries through IUCAT, the IU Libraries' online catalog - putting you in touch with local resources.

  • You will have to acquire a free Google account, if you have not already done so, to see most information. Although these accounts are free, you are giving personal information to a company.

  • This is a commercial site that uses advertisements and encourages buying books.

Availability of Full-text

  • Full-text: The book is out of copyright or the publisher has granted Google Book Search full permissions. You will be able to see the entire book, and in some cases, download it as a pdf file.

  • Limited preview: If the publisher has granted permission, you will be able to see a few pages or conduct multiple searches on page content.

  • Snippet view: Most permissions have not been released. You can search the book as many times as you like, and Google Book Search will return up to three snippets of your search term within context each time.

  • No preview available: No permissions have been granted. You will see the bibliographic information and a link to find the book in IUCAT.

Connect to the IU Libraries

Select a title of interest and choose Find this book in a library. This link will connect you to IUCAT to see if your book is available in the IU library system. If it is not, a link will connect you to WorldCat, allowing you to request the book for delivery. From within IUCAT, you can also go to Google Book Search to get more information about the item of interest.

Ask a Librarian

Need additional help? For further assistance with any topic you can always Ask a Librarian.

last updated: 11/9/2010