One of the interesting questions raised by GoogleBooks has to do with what we might call scan recycling: POD publishers who just rip GoogleBooks scans, turn them into cheap paperbacks, and sell them. (Or, alternately, turn them into e-Books and sell them.) A colleague of mine told me today that some of the nineteenth-century German periodicals he had been consulting on GoogleBooks had vanished, only to be replaced by links to POD versions...which are now purportedly "copyrighted," even though the only thing the publisher has done is reprint the scan. For obvious reasons, this was a cause for concern, so I decided to see what was going on in my neck of the woods. I went looking for The Bulwark, and got these results:
Even after dickering around slightly with the search terms, I was only able to pull up five volumes of the journal, and only one of those five volumes was available in full text. The other four are inaccessible POD copies. But wait! Where are all the other copies of The Bulwark--like the ones in my library?
I was relieved to see that they were still all present and accounted for. Yet they don't appear in a general search. For example, a general search brings up only the POD copy of volumes one and two. However, going to the "About this Book" page of the single full-text search result and clicking on "other editions" brings up...you guessed it...the full text of those same volumes. This is not what I would call an efficient search protocol. I had similar results with the Christian Remembrancer: a general search pulled up only the POD of volume fifty-three, but fooling around with the "other editions" on one of the full-text results brought up a full view copy. (Looking at "other editions" of a POD version, incidentally, yielded only more POD "editions.") In both cases, the only way to pull up the full-text version in a general search was to specify the volume number in the search box (e.g., "'christian remembrancer' volume 53"). This limits the usefulness of GoogleBooks' search results for anyone trying to get a sense of what's actually available in the collection--how many people will know there's a volume fifty-three of the Christian Remembrancer?