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December 14, 2004

Digitized Books Will Soon Be Available for Free

The NYT lead today with news that Google inked a deal with major research libraries to scan their books and make em available online. Older books that aren't copyright protected will be available in their entirety and people will be able to view a few pages of newer, copyrighted books. Can you imagine not having to pay for a copy of Shakespeare for your college lit course? In the future, I see colleges full of students wasting printer ink, printing out entire books. At Harvard, I think they have an honor system - you're supposed to pay a certain nominal fee per page printed. At my alma mater, printing is free in the labs, and you pay a nominal fee when printing in your dorm computer lab.

People often say digitized information means the end of its commercial counterpart. (See Napster, digital music, and cd sales.) In reality, nothing beats something you can hold in your hands. Case in point: the 9-11 Commission Report was available for free download from the government and various news outlets. Neverthless, people forked over ten bucks to buy a paper copy at their local bookstore.

Posted by cj at December 14, 2004 12:04 PM


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