06 April 2006

Online Books: Free Access to Sample Chapters

Berghahn Books announced in February 2006 that they were making their book series on forced migration available online. Individual chapters are available for purchase at $8.95 or £5.00 - much less than what one would be charged for online access to many journal articles. Interestingly, most of the introductory and concluding portions of each book in the series are available at no cost. This tends to include prefaces, unsigned introductions, contributor lists, glossaries, bibliographies, etc.

Publishers are increasingly offering samples of chapters online as part of their marketing strategies. For example, Lynne Rienner has included the introduction for The Migration Reader: Exploring Policies and Politics (2005) with its description of the book and its contents. Likewise, United Nations University Press has offered a sample chapter from Refugees and Forced Displacement: International Security, Human Vulnerability, and the State (2003) that includes the lengthy introduction by Edward Newman.

Amazon.com was one of the first online booksellers to offer free viewing of sample pages (although no printing or downloading is permitted). As an example, visit the description for Arthur Helton's The Price of Indifference: Refugees and Humanitarian Action in the New Century (2002). The image of the front cover includes a "search inside" indicator. Moving your cursor over the image will dispaly a popup that provides access to the various samples available. In addition to the table of contents, you can view a six-page excerpt from the introduction, "Why Refugees Matter," as well as the index. Also available is a "surprise me" tab which displays randomly-generated three-page segments from different parts of the book.

My next post will highlight several resources that provide free access to the full-text of books.

Posted in Publications.

No comments: