French National Library to work with Google books

This story here.  Apparently the BNF have realised the futility of trying to build a rival system, and good for them.  This can only be good news for access to French language books, which the BNF has already had a good go at digitising.

Mind you, what it will mean is that lots of people in the USA will be able to look at books in French from France which French copyright laws prevent French people from seeing…

4 thoughts on “French National Library to work with Google books

  1. Monopolies are not good for preservation or dissemination of knowledge, particularly monopolies as fragile as dot.com ones. This is much too pragmatic coming from you, Roger…

  2. I agree about monopolies, and I hope to see competition in all this. But at the moment, we have no access to a lot of stuff, and Google is giving us that. Things will shake out.

  3. Thanks Stephan!

    The issue here is that academic hardbacks are sold almost exclusively to libraries. If you commission a work, you have to get the money back somehow; and charging silly prices to libraries is one of the business models. So M. Noury of Hachette is pointing out that selling ebooks of them at $10 a throw would destroy that model. He’s right.

    But it’s also futile for him to protest about this. That market will die when academic libraries die, and they will, because who wants hardbacks? What every academic wants is searchable accessable PDF’s. The old product was fine in the pre-electronic era; now it is obsolete, and new models of business must be devised.

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