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Although almost all talk about search and online retrieval these days focuses
on Google, MANY other companies both big and small are doing very exciting

A recent conversation on the list about Google Print and Amazon's Search
Inside the Book (SITB) reminded me to put up a post about a great set of
"value added" features, Amazon's Search Inside the Book provides for free.

As you know, SITB (around before Google Print) provides searchable versions of
books (provided by the publishers) in the catalog. The amount you
can view online is determined by the publisher.

Now, to the cool features.

Many, but hardly all books, available via SITB, have extra "value added" data
associated with them.

Let's take a look.

Here's a search for "Where the Wild Things Are"

Ok, the book appears on the results list and it's one available via SITB.


Now, you're on the Amazon entry page for the title.

Now, the exciting part.

Place your cursor on the cover art.

An "Inside the Book" box should appear.

This box offers lots of features.

1) A concordance
A list of the 100 most used words in the books. Click the term and see where
it appears in the book.

2)  Text Stats including:
Readability using the
Fog Index
The Flesch Index
and the Flesch Kincaid Index

Number of Characters, Words, Sentences

+ and a few "fun" stats

You'll also see that 294 other books in database, cite "Where the
Wild Things Are."

More info along with the ability to search for specific words in the book.

Caveats: Not all of these features are available for all SITB books. Features
vary buy book. However, I've noticed that many books for children have these

Finally, say you want or need to keyword search words in specific books. It's
impossible via the interface HOWEVER it is very possible via multifacted web search tool named

Here you can search all sorts of databases (the default web database is
Google) and also specific words and phrases found in SITB books.

Simply, go to A9 and make sure to select the "books" search box. Enter your
terms and go. A link will take you directly to the page where the word(s)

Bow, these features are not just for lit for children

Here's Hawking's:
"A Brief History of Time : The Updated and Expanded Tenth Anniversary Edition

Hover over cover art and you'll find a bunch of feature

Also, look directly below the title and author name. You'll spot some words.
Some labeled: "SIPs" others labeled "CAPs"
What are they?

SIP's=Statistically Improbable Phrases
"'s Statistically Improbable Phrases, or "SIPs", are the most
distinctive phrases in the text of books in the Search Inside! program. To
identify SIPs, our computers scan the text of all books in the Search Inside!
program. If they find a phrase that occurs a large number of times in a
particular book relative to all Search Inside! books, that phrase is a SIP in
that book." Capitalized Phrases
Capitalized Phrases, or "CAPs", are people, places, events, or important
topics mentioned frequently in a book. Along with our Statistically
Improbable Phrases, Capitalized Phrases give you a quick glimpse into a
book's contents...For example, if you're looking at a Sherlock Holmes
mystery, you can click on "Professor Moriarty" to see a list of books that
feature or mention Holmes's nemesis. You can then browse a few pages from the
books or click on the search link to read more about him."

Btw, the sentence listed before the SIP's and CAP's is the first line of the

Have fun!


Gary D. Price, MLIS
Editor, ResourceShelf and DocuTicker
News Editor, Search Engine Watch
Gary Price Library Research and Internet Consulting

Visit ResourceShelf and Docuticker

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