Microsoft to shut down Live Search Books

Dear Live Search Books Publisher Program Partner,

We are writing today to inform you that we are ending the Live Search
Books Publisher Program, including our digitization initiative, and
closing the Live Search Books site. We recognize that this is
disappointing news to you and to the users of the Live Search Books
service. Ending the Live Search Books program is the result of a
strategic decision on our part to focus our investments in new
vertical search areas where we believe we can more effectively
differentiate Live Search.

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 search engines, consumers, and content
partners. For example, this past Wednesday, 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.

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
theindustry and evaluate future opportunities.

As we wind down Live Search Books we will be reaching out to you in
partnership with Ingram Digital Group with information on new
marketing and sales opportunities designed to help you derive ongoing
benefits from your participation in the Live Search Books Publisher
Program. As part of this initiative, we will be making the scan files
we created from your print book submissions available to you for
free. We will follow-up next week with more information on these

The Live Search Books Publisher Program site
( ) will be taken down immediately. The Live
Search Books site ( ) will be taken down next

We sincerely appreciate your support and regret any inconvenience that
this decision has caused. You can read more about this announcement on
The Live Search blog ( ).


The Live Search Books Team


We have learned a tremendous amount from our experience and believe this decision, while a hard one, can serve as a catalyst for more sustainable strategies. To that end, we intend to provide publishers with digital copies of their scanned books. We are also removing our contractual restrictions placed on the digitized library content and making the scanning equipment available to our digitization partners and libraries to continue digitization programs.

On MSN Live Search Books see in German

German users have to use the follwowing URL to see the contents

David Rothman comments the decision:
At any rate, the killing of those “Live” services means less competition for Google and Amazon—and fewer choices for consumers and cash-strapped libraries.

On the consequences for the Internet Archive which will seek other funding see

If MSN has digitized Public Domain content in cooperation with the Open Content Alliance download links to the Internet Archive (IA) were given in MSN Live Search Books. After the end of Live Search the books are still downloadable at the IA but there will be no full text search.

There were no download links for the proprietary MSN Public Domain content especially the Cornell library cooperation. If Cornell doesn’t make this books available this content will disappear next week. It is possible to circumvent the MSN digital rights management with simple means. I would like to recommend to do so and to save as many books as possible for the Public Domain.

Update: 75,000 public domain books from Cornell has been scanned by MSN. Cornell is aware of the problem (personal mail from Peter Hirtle).

I did a quick search for “archival” in Live Search Books and checked the first 100 matches. 10 books are without download link and from Cornell. This include two volumes from the “Calendar of State Papers” from the UK Public Record Office. A lot of this series was digitized by MSN, most volumes in cooperation with Cornell.

I also found a valuable guide to US history materials in Spanish archives from 2007 from Cornell:


Peter Delin quotes in INETBIB:
As is often the case with announcements like this, there’s good and bad news. The good news is that Microsoft is removing the restrictions that it had placed on the out-of-copyright books they paid to scan. These books will be available through the Internet Archive and the Open Library ( The Open Library supports full-text queries. MSFT is also letting the IA keep the extensive scanning infrastructure that it partly paid to develop. Book scanning with Open Content Alliance partners that are not MSFT partners is continuing.

The bad news is that MSFT’s significant support for digitization will be winding down. We are working to find funding so that we can continue, and even increase, our efforts. We would like to keep the cultural heritage that’s held by the world’s major libraries accessible through the public and not-for-profit sector, rather than through a small number of commercial enterprises.

I think there’s a important lesson here for public and nonprofit archives and libraries. We can’t rely on the commercial sector to build and maintain persistent, long-lasting collections. If we’re going to fulfill our mission to preserve cultural heritage, we will have to find ways to do it within noncommercial institutions, organizations that can take a longer view without falling victim to short-term pressures.

Rick (speaking on his own, not for Internet Archive)

Critical comment:

Diesen Blogbeitrag zitieren
Klaus Graf (2008, 24. Mai). Microsoft to shut down Live Search Books. Archivalia. Abgerufen am 26. Mai 2024, von

Autor: Klaus Graf

Historiker und Archivar, Blogger

Ein Gedanke zu „Microsoft to shut down Live Search Books“

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert

Diese Website verwendet Akismet, um Spam zu reduzieren. Erfahre mehr darüber, wie deine Kommentardaten verarbeitet werden.

Suche in OpenEdition Search

Sie werden weitergeleitet zur OpenEdition Search