As i swooned earlier, Amazon’s decision to allow text-based search was brilliant. Unfortunately, not all publishers have agreed.
Currently, i am sitting amidst 15 (yes, i counted) anthropology, rhetoric and philosophy books. I own these books; i have read large chunks of these books, underlining points that were relevant then. But here i am, trying to construct a meaningful response to whether or not culture is an ensemble of texts (recursively), frustrated. Why am i frustrated? I am frustrated because i _know_ that the tool to find the various quotes floating in my head to support my argument exists, but that publishers have prohibited it. (A moment of silence for ignorance is bliss.)
Here’s what i propose.
Amazon, you know what books i’ve bought, or at least a large chunk of them. You currently use this to successfully incite me to buy more books. Why not let me search _my_ books, regardless of the publisher’s opinion?
One might ask why Amazon would want to do this. Silly, silly. This would motivate me to buy ALL of my books from Amazon, particularly those dense theoretical texts that are dreadfully indexed.
One might ask why publishers would want to do this. Why? Because i’m now keeping tabs of which publishers are cruel and am far more incented to buy books when i know that i can search them. This actually affected my decision between two anthologies last week.
The biggest uproar over Amazon’s decision is one of copyright fear. Fine. I understand if a publisher is worried that the searchability of certain types of texts might discourage someone from buying the book, but in the purchasing of my books, i already have permission to the copyright. Now, i simply want easier access. Trust me, folks, if you can give me ‘grep’ on my books, i’ll never switch to a digital format. The smell of paper is just too enticing.
::sigh:: Because of Basic Books and The University of Chicago Press, i’m back to screaming ‘grep’ at Geertz and Levi-Strauss. This could be a lot easier…