Insight Web Service

Insight Web Service > Introduction

Random House has created the Insight Service: a set of programming tools that allow internet applications to view and search digitized book content. Through the Insight Service, keyword searches can get inside actual book content and find matches against the full text of the book. Insight can then serve up the pages of the book in different formats depending on the needs of the developer: for example, pages can be displayed in high-quality image formats for optimal viewing or speedy little thumbnails for quick review.

Insight is a business-to-business digital page service developed to address the relationship between book publishers, their digital content and retail partners. Random House has developed a simple set of URL requests that gives search engines and online retailers access to digitized book content over the Web. These requests can bring book page views, keyword title searches and search-inside functionality into your retail website.

Documentation

  • Insight Overview - Click on the html or PDF link to learn more about the general mechanics of Insight and to see some the sample use cases.
  • Insight Service Specification - Click on the html or PDF link to start reading specifics on each Insight transaction and how to implement the appropriate URL requests into your website.
  • Insight Widget - Click here to learn more about Random House's new online book reader for your website.
  • Insight Widget for Affiliate Partners - Click here to learn more about customizing the Insight Widget "Buy" button for affiliate sales.
  • Insight File Preparation Guide - Publishers can click here (PDF) to learn more about preparing files for publication in the Insight service.

insight widget

BUZZ

Read below to hear what others are saying.

Random House - Widgets and Web Services Done Right
Read/Write Web

In this post we look at an unlikely widget company, Random House Publishing. A quick look at their web service and the widget is enough to realize that the company “gets it”. But a deeper look reveals that Random House not only has gotten the widget bug, it also has a broad and solid strategy around widgets. The publishing giant is using widgets to build its presence and brand awareness everywhere online....more

Random House Gets High Marks In New Widget Wars
Author Link

Random House joined the ‘widget wars’ March 1 with the introduction of its Insight Service, a set of programming tools that allow Internet applications to view and search digitized book content. After barely two weeks on the market, the service is getting rave reviews from both media and technology sites. Through keyword searches, users can get inside actual book content and find matches against the full text of the book. The ability to search and read actual pages from thousands of titles is just a click away. Users can search for a favorite character, sample some pages, buy a book or add the title to their own web sites! ...more

Random House Gives Insight
The Book Standard

Random House today launched Insight, a digital book distribution program that includes a widget, similar to the one recently launched by HarperCollins. More than 5,000 of Random House’s books will be available through Insight, with more on the way, and Random House said the program is “the largest digital search archive from any trade book publisher,” according to Publishers Marketplace. Insight provides “a simple set of URL requests that gives search engines and online retailers access to digitized book content over the Web,” Random House said on its website. The widget, which is not yet compatible with MySpace, allows users to post book content on their personal websites....more

And Here comes Random House!
Issues In Publishing

Harper gets off to an early lead, bringing their ‘widget’ out first. But here comes Random House! Their slicker, more functional ‘widget’ is now out of the chute. So the race is on! We’ve been working on a test with the Random House widget on our eloquence site. If you want to take a look at it in real life, click on the ‘Look Inside’ link on this eloquence page. Take a look at the way Random House has documented their widget to aid people in using it for the first time. It also has multiple features not found in Harper’s. Some of the features include, displaying multiple sizes, searching for text strings inside the widget (using a Google text search), and offering ways to buy the book, and/or place the widget on your own social networking site. Now that the widgets are out, we have a new race in the content distribution world. Whether to deliver .PDF’s to search engines, or to have the search engines come to you! It’s a wild west like atmosphere out there when it comes to content distribution. I think that my friends at BISG better get their lasso out and try to corral all the players out there to get some standards in place, or no one will know what to do....more

Random House 1 HarperCollins 0
The Double U

Well, Random House couldn’t be left out, and yesterday launched Insight, their own widget-based search-and-browser program. “We believe Insight will be an invaluable marketing tool for our publishers, our authors, and particularly our booksellers,” said Andrew Weber, Random House’s senior vice president for operations and technology. After all, he continues “book content sampling frequently is followed by consumer purchase.” (A lesson that the music industry has been oh-so-slow to learn.) Weber is being modest—Insight rocks! At rollout it is already available for over 5,000 Random House titles, and its keyword search and adobe-quality manipulation of book content is stunning. HarperCollins is going to have to go back and think things over again....more

Random Widget Raises the Bar
Publishers Lunch Deluxe

Random House’s own digital book distribution program Insight (first covered here in January) has gone live in a big way, with over 5,000 titles available for electronic search and browsing. Random House calls it “to our knowledge, by far, the largest digital search archive from any trade book publisher.” Like Harper’s embeddable player introduced yesterday, Random House’s program includes a ‘widget’ that makes easy to ‘play’ their files from many web sites. (Unlike Harper’s offering, Random’s widget is not compatible with Fox-owned MySpace yet, though “compatibility is forthcoming.”) In most respects, Random House’s player wins the first round of widget wars handily. The player loads quickly, and the focus is entirely on the book jacket rather than the publisher. You can search the full text of the book right from within the widget, and there is a ‘buy’ button built-in that can be reconfigured to link to any bookselling destination. And the widget can be embedded in two different sizes....more

Random House’s Insight Widget
Book Blog

So I received an e-mail from Random House about their new book search widget, called Insight: If you click on it, you should get a larger, more readable window and be able to look through the first 57 pages of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The widget is kind of cool, and, after reading the first chapter, I will probably pick up a copy of this book. Although there’s been lots of teeth gnashing lately over scrotums, this story, written by Death and telling teens they will eventually die on the first page, seems much more titillating to me....more

Random House Book Widget opens to rave reviews
Anthony Franco

Random House has launched a new book reader. The book reader is built in Flex, and creates a 50 page (or so) preview for most of their books. It also allows people to embed a preview of a favorite book in their own website. The launch of the ‘Insight’ widget is getting a ton of great press for Random House. “This was such a fun project to work on, effectiveUI’s team really knocked this one out of the park.”...more

What the Widget?
Book Blog

This morning, The Millions takes a closer look at the new book widgets released this week by HarperCollins and Random House. He is not a fan. When I first got the news about HarperCollins’ offering, I soon drifted away from their site to friendlier environs because I couldn’t get it to work. I tried it again today and finally got the larger browser to launch after much insistent clicking. It has an advantage in that you can, with some squinting, read an entire page without scrolling, but its interface feels clunky. Plus, having to watch ‘loading’ dots between every page tries my patience....more

Random House Debuts Its Book Search Widget
Dear Author

Yesterday, HarperCollins rolled out its ‘Browse Inside’ feature that will eventually be available for all its books and could be embedded in blogs and websites. Not to be outdone, Random House debuted its ‘Browse and Search’ widget. I like the Random House Widget better as it is just the cover and gives you the option of choosing a large or small version. I like the layout of the Random House browsing screen but it doesn’t allow you to change the font size and the screen display looks like a scanned image and not a true text one (the fonts were smudgy). ...more

Feeling Random
if:book

Following HarperCollins’ recent Web renovations, Random House today unveiled their publisher-driven alternative to Google: a new, full-text search engine of over 5,000 new and backlist books including browsable samples of select titles. The most interesting thing here is that book samples can be syndicated on other websites through a page-flipping browser widget (Flash 9 required) that you embed with a bit of cut-and-paste code (like a YouTube clip). It’s a nice little tool, though it comes in two sizes only — one that’s too small to read, and one that embedded would take up most of a web page (plus it keeps crashing my browser). Compare below with HarperCollins’ simpler embeddable book link:...more

Widget Wars: A New Hope - Updated
The Millions Blog

Publishers want to be the only ones allowed to make digital copies of books, and what does the reading public get for it? Widgets. These self-contained online readers are meant to provide an anywhere-on-the-Web presence for books, especially on blogs and even, god forbid, on MySpace. But before we get to the merits of this initiative, lets look at what we’re working with....more

Publishers try to stave off Google, Amazon with book search
Ars Technica

Two major publishers have launched services that let non-Amazonians ‘search inside the book.’ Random House and HarperCollins Publishers have both launched similar Web services that make it easy for bookstores, blogs, and social networking sites to display book snippets, hoping that the move will build buzz for new titles....more

Les widgets du livre
La Feuille

Très intéressante réalisation de Random House, qui vient de mettre au point un nouveau moteur pour son site web, qui permet une recherche plein texte dans quelques 5000 titres de son catalogue (HarperCollins a lui aussi lancé un service similaire il y a quelques semaines). Mais l’innovation majeure n’est pas là je crois. Elle repose dans un Widget, une petite application qui permet d’afficher un livre ’ l’intérieur d’un billet, un peu comme on peut afficher une vidéo de YouTube sur n’importe quel site. Un petit objet (un javascript) qui affiche la couverture du livre, permet de feuilleter les pages dudit livre, de l’acheter, de le partager (chacun peut accéder au code pour le recopier sur son site) et surtout de faire une recherche à l’intérieur de celui-ci. Simple. Efficace. Puissant....more

Insight
Torlone

Si chiama Insight e a quanto sembra pare la convergenza dei miei interessi :-D. L’editore Random House, ha realizzato un’applicazione in Flex che consente ai lettori che navigano il suo sito di leggere alcuni dei titoli in catalogo. L’applicazione, che ricorda Adobe digital edition, consente di sfogliare il libro, di ricercare parole nel testo e di ingrandire le pagine. Evidentemente lo scopo non è di facilitare la lettura ma sopratutto di creare interesse sui libri per aumentarne il mercato. Il reader è disponibile anche come script da includere nei blog. Il reader lo trovate nella parte destra della home page e cliccandoci si apre con una dimensione maggiore. Qui c’è una descrizione di come funziona....more

Random House, HarperCollins Get MySpace Book Widgets
Mashable

This one’s self explanatory, really: two of the biggest publishers have rolled out widgets this week targeting social network users. The widgets are Flash-based and work across MySpace, hi5, Multiply etc. HarperCollins has released a ‘Browse Inside’ widget that simply opens the Browse Inside feature in a new window (example), while the Random House widget is a bit more advanced: it lets you browse the pages of the book in the widget itself, and even pop out a large window so you can actually read the book as a slideshow. Even better: they’ve provided an option to copy the widget without leaving the page you’re on, and a ‘buy’ link to buy the book on the publisher’s site. There’s also a book search to find other Random House books. Rupert Murdoch may own HarperCollins and MySpace, but RandomHouse is outshining them when it comes to widgets....more

The Book Widgets
Deeplinking

Speaking of nerdy widgets, Random House and HarperCollins just came out with their own book widgets while I slept. Both widgets allow you to read and search books, but the Random House widget is the clear winner for its self-contained design. Contrast it with the clunkier HarperCollins one. For a good example, check out the widget for Random House’s Meta Math by Gregory Chaitin. My only gripe is they should make these things easier to find on their site by putting them all in one place....more

First Amazon, Google, now publishers…
Times Union

…are making it possible to search inside the content of books....more

Publishers allow web book browsing
news.com.au

The dusty world of book publishing has taken a step into cyberspace as Random House and HarperCollins letting customers browse books online. Random House, whose writers include Danielle Steel and Norman Mailer, said today it would let consumers search and browse through more than 5000 of its titles on the internet through a new service called Insight. Random House is also introducing a tool allowing users to add material from titles to personal pages on social networks such as MySpace or to a retailer’s website. Random House is a unit of German media giant Bertelsmann AG. HarperCollins Publishers, whose authors include Michael Crichton, yesterday said it was introducing a browse function that lets consumers embed pages of books onto networking sites such as MySpace...more

US publishers allow book browsing on the Web
Reuters

The dusty world of book publishing has taken a step into cyberspace as Random House and HarperCollins letting customers browse books online. Random House, whose writers include Danielle Steel and Norman Mailer, said on Tuesday it will let consumers search and browse through more than 5,000 of its titles on the Internet through a new service called Insight. Random House is also introducing a tool allowing users to add material from titles to personal pages on social networks such as MySpace or to a retailer’s Web site. Random House is a unit of German media giant Bertelsmann AG (BERT.UL: Quote, Profile , Research). HarperCollins Publishers, whose authors include Michael Crichton, on Monday said it was introducing a browse function that lets consumers embed pages of books onto networking sites such as MySpace. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NWSa.N: Quote, Profile , Research) owns HarperCollins and MySpace. Random House said the two companies were the only major publishers offering such services so far....more

Two Book Pubs Test the Online Waters
BetaNews

Book publishers are slowly warming up to the idea of putting their content online, with two companies announcing separate plans to offer web-based methods to search through their catalogs. Random House said Tuesday that it planned to offer a service called ‘Insight’ that would allow the consumer to browser through more than 5,000 titles from its archives. The company’s authors include the popular Danielle Steele among others....more

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