Friday, April 30, 2010

A new journey into the virtual world

Globalization and digitization are the two dominant trends that have changed the face of book publishing in the last decade. They are interlinked because of the rapid advance in communications and computer technologies. Now we learn that Google will make millions of digitized books from research libraries, hitherto not easily accessed, available to readers for a fee. These include out-of-copyright books (whose authors have died more than 50 years ago) as well as those recently published. Whether copyrighted books should be put online is still sub judice in the American courts, but if the issue is settled in favour of Google, the latter could become the largest library and book-selling business the world has ever known.

Some questions arise. Will large distributors accept digitized books at the expense of traditional printed books to make Google’s attempt a success? What are its implications for book publishers and authors? Would they stand to gain financially with digitized books that could replace the traditional print format or supplement it? Moreover, would readers get digitized books at lower prices, if you factor in the cost of the computer hardware/iPad and other hand-held devices that would be required to read the digital text and the fees that would need to be paid to the publisher for accessing it?

Full report here Telegraph

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