Google is scanning the books of the world and letting you see the original scanned images online. You can also search the texts. For public domain books, you can see the entire text of the book. For cooperating copyrighted books you can see a few pages surrounding the target of your search, table of contents, index, front page etc. and for non-cooperating copyrighted books, you can see just a few sentences.
You can access by author, title, ISBN (International Standard Book Number), or content of the book. It is a great place to search for the exact text of a quotation. Even copyrighted material is in there.
The catch is they display the books as graphics images. You cannot copy/paste to a text file. You can use FastStone to capture, but that still is a graphics of the text. I suppose if you were clever you could
Google Books evolved to a commercial eBook store with links to affiliate print bookstores. Then it split off as Google Play as a commercial eBook, free book, magazine android app, device and movie store.
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