RealTime IT News

Get Your Read on at Google

The day has come for readers to search for, access and then download books online in PDF format.

The public domain books that Google has scanned as part of its Book Search project are now available for free download with the click of just one button.

A Google spokesperson refused to say exactly how many books are available to search, but she did say it would take a very long time to count.

To access the books, readers should select the "full view" radio button when searching on Google Book Search.

Then, if they click on the "download" button shown on a public domain book's page, they can download a PDF file of the entire work.

Google has partnered with Harvard, the New York Public Library, Oxford, Stanford, the University of Michigan and, earlier this month, the University of California as part of its project to scan the world's books.

While the Google Book Search results pages will continue to serve sponsored links as part of Google's AdWords product, the PDF versions of the books themselves will not contain contextual ads, Adam Smith, Google Books product manager, told internetnews.com.

It's an easy click for a reader, but making the service available has not been a simple process for Google.

Publishing industry concerns about copyrights pressured the Mountain View, Calif., company to halt its book-scanning project once already.

It wasn't until Google implemented stricter guidelines that the process began again.

JupiterKagan Research Analyst Barry Parr wonders if all the trouble is worth it for Google.

"Why bother? What value are they adding?" he said.

He told to internetnews.com that a site such as Bartleby, which has already catalogued many of the most popular books in the public domain, makes this move hard for him to understand.

But Smith said the new download feature is the result of user demand. So somebody must.

And this somebody just might have been waiting to download the Records of the Convention of the Royal Burghs of Scotland from 1738.

And that day is finally here.