There is an interesting report today over on GalleyCat which says they have seen a copy of an email sent out by a book distributor to its publishing clients informing them of a change in Amazon's policy on their Search Inside the Book (SITB) program. The new policy will require publishers to participate in SITB for all new books, with Amazon wanting PDF files to be loaded up to their database a minimum of 3 - 4 weeks in advance of a release date (if not sooner). As of yet no offical or wider communication has surfaced beyond this client email.
While many publishers participate in Amazon's SITB program, Galley Cat's Ron Hogan rightly points out that not all publishers may be so enamoured with the idea of this poilcy being compulsory or having previews of books available to the general buying public weeks, if not months in advance.
While some may consider it a small issue in the broader concerns at the moment for both publishers and authors, companies like Google and Amazon are having greater and greater control on the digitizing and availability of books. I for one see it as another step in the dominance on line and high street retailers are having in their efforts to seize control of books away from where they belong - that is - with the book publishing industry itself.