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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Tuesday, November 22, 2005

    Battle of the (e-book) Giants?

    Lorcan Dempsey reported at the end of October - and it was not only 20:20 hindsight based on the existing evidence of OCLC's NetLibrary! - that "the book collection will also come onto the network" ... there is so much recent activity reported, that it is clear that he is right and that e-books are becoming ever-more important as e-resources. Reports that "Print is not dead – but it is fast fading away – Young people are heading towards a world in which books and other traditional media have almost no place" (Adam Fox, Guardian 8th October) or, as Bill Gates said in London recently, that silicon would replace paper within 10 years, are over-simplifications, simply intended to provoke debate. The following facts on publishers committing to e-books are just that, facts:
    1. Random House announces a new “business model” for digital book content, in which it will treat the pay-per-page-view usage as a digital permission, sharing revenues with authors accordingly;
    2. Microsoft has entered into a non-exclusive digitization contract with The British Library to digitize 100,000 books and create BookSearch;
    3. Macmillan is to develop BookStore - a searchable repository of digital book content;
    4. Google has resumed its digitization project and renamed itself: Google Book Search.



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