In the NASCAS forum a poster mentioned:
Speaking of manuscripts, friends, I wanted to let you know that the Bibliothica Alexandrina has the WHOLE Arabic collection of manuscripts held at the British Library. One can obtain a digital copy for only 5 (yes five) Egyptian Pounds, i.e., 90 US cents!
Now this is very, very exciting news. And I have an idea how this might be so. I believe some Arab princeling paid for all the Arabic mss in UK libraries to be photographed for microfiche. But I have never known where to access this material. Perhaps this is the source of this.
I’ve enquired of the poster how I can get these. I have written before that there is a manuscript of the 13th century Arabic Christian historian al-Makin (BL or. 7564) which I want. Indeed I even ordered a microfilm copy from the BL; who sent me, at a huge price, just the second half!
If the report is true, this is very good news. It might apply to other libraries than the BL, such as the Bodleian. Today I also heard that the Bodleian tried to screw a scholar from Leiden who wanted a photocopy of a dissertation, and demanded 150 GBP (around $220) for a photocopy. This hateful monopoly must be overthrown; no scholarship can happen while access to the primary texts is subject to blackmail of this kind.
Let us hope and pray this is so, and that a torrent of copies is about to be unleashed on the scholarly world!