I admit it — I’m a bit skeptical about the new “Browse Inside” feature being rolled out by HarperCollins, even as I am very enthusiastic about a book publisher is actually trying something new and exciting. Similar to Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature, the HC model allows readers to digitally browse a book before buying. The service is powered by software developed by LibreDigital, and it’s, well, certainly slick…but is it going to get the job done?
Let’s get the good stuff out of the way. When accessed from the HC website, the interface is easy to use. It works with Firefox on a Mac. This is important because if it works there, it’s gonna work most places, or so I like to think. The controls are simple, the text quality is good, and things move fast.
These are not small considerations. The harder it is to use the feature, the less likely it is that, well, people will use it. The goal, I believe, is to get website owners to add the “Browse Inside” widget to their sites. This is what you’ll see if you do:
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