Embedding book excerpts on your website?
September 25, 2009 9:17 AM   Subscribe

I need ideas for embedding book excerpts on my website.

I'm looking for a way to embed book excerpts on my website. I've looked at Scribd and Issuu so far but I'm not wholly convinced, as their embed capabilities fall short of my expectations regarding the user experience.

Do you know any alternative service? I am also open to a solution that resides on my own server; something that takes a PDF file and displays it to the user in a HTML page (via Flash, most probably).
posted by danburzo to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What are your expectations for user experience?
posted by Kimberly at 9:54 AM on September 25, 2009

You can embed a PDF via Google Docs.
posted by mattbucher at 10:17 AM on September 25, 2009

Sorry, here is a better link.
posted by mattbucher at 10:17 AM on September 25, 2009

The most obvious and easy way to display text to a user in an HTML page is with HTML. Are you seeking something more complicated to interfere with the user saving it, or is there some other reason?
posted by Zed at 11:24 AM on September 25, 2009

As a visitor to a site, let me tell you that any attempt to get me to read something through some awful embedded flash PDF viewer is going to be an instant turn-off and I'll just close the tab rather than deal with trying to scroll and zoom in some tiny window. As Zed says, the web is made of text and you should just put your excerpt online as plain text. If you are really worried about people being able to copy and paste then you could display the text as an image (or more realistically, a series of images.) But that is fraught with downsides: your choice of font and margins may be too big or small for my taste and I don't have the option of resizing or reflowing as I do with plain text.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:49 PM on September 25, 2009

Response by poster: @Kimberly:
I'm looking for something that is easier to interact with; with minimal graphics/interface elements so it can blend into the website; an unbranded, lightweight widget is ideal.

@Zed, @Rhomboid:
I agree that reading text in a tiny flash widget is painful, but there are some things that cannot be solved by plain text:
* I want to preserve the experience of the actual book (fonts, format, etc.)
* Some books may contain graphic elements and/or complex layout; this is more difficult to achieve.
* Downloadable PDF files provide the user with artifacts that they can store on their computer, share with friends over IM/Email etc. So no, I'm not worried about users copying/distributing the information -- I see how it could benefit both parties.
posted by danburzo at 2:57 AM on September 29, 2009

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