Coolest Inventions: Smart Library

Amazon's new search service takes readers inside their books

The trouble with books is that they're too low-tech. Like all wood-pulp devices, they have no built-in search engine. Sure, you can look up stuff in the index. But who has the time? Certainly not the generation that is growing up with Google. According to a 2001 Pew Research Center study, 71% of online teens rely "mostly on the Internet" for their homework. As the pace of life grows faster, the tendency is to shun any information that isn't delivered fresh and piping hot to our computer screens within seconds. And that means books lose out.

At least it did until...

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