Ingram Offers Transition Option as Microsoft Live Search Books Ends
In a letter to its publishing partners, dated May 23, Microsoft announced that it would be ending its Live Search Books Publishing Program and closing the Live Search Books Web site. Microsoft, which launched the program at the end of 2006, worked with publishers to digitize their books and make them available and searchable on the Internet.
“Given the evolution of the Web and our strategy, we believe the next generation of search is about the development of an underlying, sustainable business model for the search engine, consumer and content partner. For example, recently we announced our strategy to focus on verticals with high commercial intent, such as travel, and offer users cash back on their purchases from our advertisers,” says a Microsoft spokesperson. “With Live Search Books and Live Search Academic, we digitized 750,000 books and indexed 80 million journal articles. Based on our experience, we foresee that the best way for a search engine to make book content available will be by crawling content repositories created by book publishers and libraries. With our investments, the technology to create these repositories is now available at lower costs for those with the commercial interest or public mandate to digitize book content. We will continue to track the evolution of the industry and evaluate future opportunities.”
“With Google’s digitization programs (and other less-commercial digitization initiatives), publishers for the most part already had book content [that was] searchable,” says Andrew Brenneman, managing director of digital media consultancy Finitiv and a Book Business columnist, of Microsoft’s decision. “Searchability of content, therefore, was no longer a compelling incentive; the problem had [already] been solved. Somewhat late to the party, Microsoft has wisely adjusted their strategy to develop opportunities for the monetization of existing content repositories, as opposed to replicating those that already exist.”
For publishers participating in the Live Search Books program, Microsoft and Ingram Digital announced May 28 that Ingram would be offering “a transition option” into its Ingram Search and Discover platform—which originally was developed for retailers—at no cost, enabling publishers to continue making their content searchable and available to readers. Microsoft had contracted with Ingram Digital—an Ingram Content company focused on solutions for digital content management, distribution and promotion—approximately a year ago to help it manage the digitization of book titles from commercial publishers, according to Ingram Digital COO Frank Daniels III.