Harper gets off to an early lead, bringing their 'widget' out first. But here comes Random House!
Their slicker, more functional 'widget' is now out of the shoot. So the race is on!
We've been working on a test with the Random House widget on our eloquence site. If you want to take a look at it in real life, click on the "Look Inside" link on this eloquence page.
Take a look at the way Random House has documented their widget to aid people in using it for the first time. It also has multiple features not found in Harper's. Some of the features include, displaying multiple sizes, searching for text strings inside the widget (using a Google text search), and offering ways to buy the book, and/or place the widget on your own social networking site.
Now that the widgets are out, we have a new race in the content distribution world. Whether to deliver .PDF's to search engines, or to have the search engines come to you!
It's a wild west like atmosphere out there when it comes to content distribution. I think that my friends at BISG better get their lasso out and try to corral all the players out there to get some standards in place, or no one will know what to do.
I know that Random, Harper, Ingram and others are all trying to create networks that communicate with the Google's, Amazon's, Yahoo!'s and Microsoft's of the world, and there is no clear standard emerging - yet. And there are a lot of details to work out... how much to show, where can the book be purchased from, etc.
No one has really figured out a universal monetization scheme for electronic content, but everyone knows that there is demand for a look inside like program. I am sure that several small schemes will emerge, hopefully enough to justify the expenditures in all this technology.