The Library Project is an important part of Google's efforts to make it easier to find information – in this case, the information found in print books. By partnering with libraries to digitise books from their collections, we aim to build a searchable catalogue of the world's books online. The Library Project makes it possible for users to search on Google through millions of books written in many different languages, including books that are rare, out of print or generally unavailable outside of the library system.
If a book is determined to be in the public domain, Google will make it available for full view. You'll be able read the book from start to finish. Otherwise, you'll still be able to search through the text of the book, but Google Books will only display a few snippets to show you where your search term appears, along with a few sentences of context. If the book appears to be useful to you, you can find a print copy by using the retailer or library links provided.
The Library Project makes Google Books even more useful for users, as well as providing valuable benefits to the libraries we're working with.