Now I realize I am years late to this “new” tool, but after my recent interaction with Google books I decided to mention its usefullness.  So here is my brief tale and plug for Google books.  I had heard many times about the greatness of google books from fellow bloggers such at Pat McCullough and Brandon Wason; however, I never used it because I figured how useful can a limited preview really be?  Over the last three weeks or so I’ve found out the answer is: extermely useful.  I’ve been putting together my syallbus for next quarter, examining the historical context of the earliest Christian documents, and obviously much of the course strays far from Pauline studies.  Thus, I needed to pore through many books, which neither I nor the UCLA library possess.  Rather than request 100+ books, I started browsing Google books.  Much to my surprise most of the books I needed were on the site and even more astonishing I could access nearly every page I needed.  Thus, this tool saved me hours of driving to libraries and the pain of waiting on piles of books.  At first I couldn’t believe that this tool was legal.  I could’t understand why publishers would allow a website to freely post massive amounts of their books.  However, since I bought 10 books from my time on Google books, I quickly realized the benefit for publishers.  So to conclude my long winded tale, Google books is a useful tool indeed!