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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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    Monday, May 28, 2007

    Radio 4 on e-books, almost!

    If any further proof were needed that e-books have finally arrived - following on from OUP's official blog in March where it was suggested that 'Google and friends' have demonstrated that
    "discoverability and access leads to interest and opportunity. Every major media company is now thinking they need to figure out their share of the digital space"
    and my recent post about increased e-book sales - e-books featured on the Radio 4 Today Programme from the Hay Book Festival...

    ... although somehow this was done without mentioning the terms e-books: Greg Wood spoke about "electronic publishing" with Neill Denny (Editor in Chief, Bookseller) and Jo Hodder (Assistant General Secretary of the Society of Authors). Having covered the possibilities of print-on-demand (Foyles are looking at this plus a couple of small bookshops in the US - no mention of other applications such as Rice University) with the idea that a bookshop could thus make available for instant printing and binding all 50,000,000 titles available in World History, for example (will it ever happen??? who is going to do the digitising??), the conversation turned onto electronic publishing - "Publishing is going digital... changing the way books are read and distributed... they can be downloaded from the Internet to hand-held devices" - where Jo Hodder thought that e-publishing should mean greater royalties for authors, given the reduced production, storage and distribution costs. That's funny - librarians use that same argument to explain why they think e-books should cost less that print books!

    An interesting little piece - a shame that Radio 4 seems to think that e-books are only used on hand-held devices (will this falacy never go away? See my upcoming article in the Journal of Library and Information Science.)

    I wonder if Hay will produce another author rant against e-books (London Book Fair, Margaret Atwood or John Updike at BookExpo America)!

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