Today, I Live in the Book

Amazon launched its book-searching feature today; we were talking about this idea all the way back in late 1996 when I worked there as catalog manager. It's so cool to see it come to fruition.My friend, old boss, current officemate, and colleague Steve Roth had this idea way back in the mid-90s: why not have a site at which you could search fulltext, see a little context, and then buy the book? It took a long time for rights, technology, and integration to make it happen. I've been using O'Reilly's Safari Bookshelf for a few months, and it's a similar idea taken a step further. For a fee per month, you're licensing the rights to search and read any page in a book on their site up to a certain number of books at one time. You can search for free, actually, and the results are useful because they show context. All of this is to the good for authors: it allows our work to be seen as useful in context, and to increase sales based on utility. What's the deal with the title of this post? When I worked at Amazon, we had gotten this email from Japan asking something that I can't recall. But it opened in bad translation as something like "Today, I live in the book." The rest escapes me but was equally beautiful and senseless.