This article is part 3 of a 4 part series on when to use the HathiTrust Digital Library, Google Books, and Internet Archive Books & Texts

Google Books (

Content Summary

  • Includes Over 40 million volumes

  • More than 4.3 million UC digitized volumes are in Google Books.
  • As the primary source of most digitized texts, Google Books is the most comprehensive global resource and the most up-to-date digital library option.
  • Many of the books digitized by the Google Library Project overlap with HathiTrust, but many of Google’s library partners (particularly those outside of the United States) are not members of HathiTrust and do not deposit their volumes in the HathiTrust repository.
  • Millions of volumes digitized for the Google Partner Project with publishers and authors do not overlap with HathiTrust or Internet Archive.

Content Sources

In addition to the volumes Google digitizes through its Library Project, Google Books contains millions of books it digitizes through its Partner Program for publishers and authors. The Google Library Project mostly digitizes older publications (published before 2012). Google captures newer (mostly in-copyright content) via its Partner Program. The Partner Program allows publishers and authors to choose to show portions of their content (from 20% to 100%) with 20% of a volume most often being available. It’s not uncommon for Google Books to allow access to the Table of Contents and first chapter of a volume, for example. In addition, Google often provides snippets (small portions of text) around the search terms in their “search in this book” results.

Access Options

  • Google Books provides four levels of access: Full view (the book may be read and downloaded); Limited preview (at least 20% of the volume is available for reading access); Snippet View (when searching within a volume; the search term is shown within small sections of surrounding text); and No Preview Available (no part of the book is available for reading or downloading).
  • The percentage of Google Books available at each level of access is not public knowledge.
  • Download of public domain volumes: Anyone may download entire public domain “full view” volumes.
  • Because Google adjusts access to comply with the copyright provisions of the country which a user is in, access to certain volumes may differ for people depending on their location.

Special Features

  • Previews: Limited preview of volumes can be extremely useful in determining whether the full book is needed or desirable for research. 
  • Google search: Integrated with Google search - often provides supportive author information, images, and videos. 

Google Books help

This article is part 3 of a 4 part series on when to use the HathiTrust Digital Library, Google Books, and Internet Archive Books & Texts