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"official" Amazon annoucement letter [g-images.amazon.com]
For a great article that explains how Amazon got around the logistical and copyright issues etc., see Wired news (which broke the story):
It's also interesting that the way Amazon are getting around the copyright issue is by showing searchers *images* of the pages, rather than returning text per se, and by restricting a searcher, so that he/she will be able to see only 20% (or something like that) of any one book. (This later part I'm sure could be hacked around quite easily though. After all, how will they identify unique users? Cookies? Session IDs? Nothing that can't be bypassed quite easily...)
I think it's going to be like Google's usenet search, people are going to have to be allowed to remove their content from the database.
I would imagine they'd have to let people take themselves out, but the vast majority will stay and enjoy the benefits.
Remember they are building A9 now, so they definitely have some search engine programmers/scientists around and I would imagine they will put them to work on the text search after they get their shopping engine online. It only seems logical for them to enhance their assets.