Thursday, September 09, 2010

Screw you, Google Books

So at work today I was grabbing some book covers off Google Books & noticed for like the millionth time that the cover image has the lower right-hand corner of the page turned up about 50% of the time. See here, for example. Which annoys me because I don't want a picture of the book cover with a dog-ear, I want a nice picture (normally I source the images off the publisher's site, but sometimes they don't have them for out-of-print books & Amazon often doesn't have downloadable images).

Anyway, I was curious enough to Google and see if there was a reason for this - if you look at the images, it looks like they digitally add this 'turn up' rather than it being physically done to the book. So why? To discourage people like me from nicking the cover image? Then why isn't it on all their books? Why, why, WHY?

Anyway, I found a contact for Google Books and emailed them this message :


Love Google Books*, but I have a question that's driving me crazy. Is there any reason that the cover image of books often has the bottom-right hand corner turned up?


*This was pretty much a lie to butter them up, okay it's useful, if ethically dubious - I think it's actually potentially good for authors and publishers, and they should be using it as a marketing tool - but the whole non-consensual way they went about it initially is dodgy.

Anyway, then I had to go to a meeting, & was surprised when I got back to my desk about an hour later that they'd already replied. What service! But here's the reply :

Thank you for your e-mail.

I appreciate you taking the time to offer us this feedback and encourage you to continue to let us know how we can improve Google Book Search.

As this is still a young programme, new features are under consideration and your feedback is very helpful.

Please feel free to reply to this email if you have more questions or comments about Google Books, and we will be happy to assist you.

What? Did you read my message? I don't have any more questions, I have the original question that I asked you and you totally ignored! So I'm still being driven crazy with wondering & that's why I say screw you Google Books! Anyone know the actual reason???


  1. That reads like an automated response and if it is, that is why you got such a prompt reply. (Why does it make you so mad, though - just don't let it!)

  2. I'm not *really* mad. But I do really want to know the answer! Plus it's just pointless having the question link (it's not just an email address but a real 'send us your questions form) and saying in the email 'let us know if you have any more questions' if they don't answer them!

  3. If I were you I would make it my life's work to destroy google books. Mmmmmmmmmm satisfying!


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