Thursday, August 31, 2006

Try reading backwards

Dedication page for 1931Google announced yesterday that it is now possible to download full PDF versions of out-of-print books via Google Book Search.

The Google blog entry links to a fun-looking book: 1931: A Glance at the Twentieth Century. It's a speculative look fifty years in the future, penned in 1881.

I noticed something interesting: you can flip back through unnumbered pages to see the dedication page for the particular volume scanned by Google. Flip back another page, and you can look at the cover.

I tried this with a few other books, and it worked on them too.

I like this ability to examine elements that are unique to a particular copy of a book. It makes the whole digitized book experience, well, a bit more "bookish."