Thursday, August 17, 2006

E-books: strong demand

On August 15, 2006 the Boston Globe publishged a story on the project of the World e-Book Fair. This project had run from July 4 till August 4 and offered 300.000 e-books for downloading. The number of books was remarkable as hardly anyone knew the amount of available e-books in public libraries and collections. Major contributors to the collection were the Project Gutenberg with 20.000 e-books and the World e-Book Library which has the largest collection.

The organisers expected 10 million downloads, but already in the first week they knew that it was going to be a success as there was not enough server capacity. By organising extra capacity and extending the project for a week, the organisers were able to handle no less than 30 million downloads.

This is an unbelievable amount and it goes to show that there is a huge demand for e-books. Certainly when you take into mind that 95 percent of the e-books offered are in the public domain with no copyright and roughly older than 70 years. I think that this massive download should be a wake-up call for publishers, who forgot about e-book after the second wave. I am eager to see a top 100 e-books and know where the downloads came from. With 30 million downloads there must be a lot of marketing information.

Of course there are still masses of book readers, who like to hold a book in their hands and sniff ink. The portability and readability of e-books are still problems, but solutions are on the way. I recently bought an iLiad reader and I am experimenting with it, downloading book left and right. Once you have found the on-and-off switch the screen is a blessing for your eyes and the cover will not give you a slipped disc. I will come back to the iLiad later on, having loaded some e-books and pdf files.

The Boston Globe had as a headline: Giveaway shows: demand for e-books is strong. And I can only agree. As the giveaway show will be repeated in October, to go coincide with the World Book Fair Month, it should be interesting to see how much the offer has grown in figures, but also in copyrighted books and downloads.

BTW. John Guagliardo from World eBook Library wrote me: Apple's iPod eBook reader is being introduced to the market soon, We (World e-Book Library) hope to pre-load some of our eBooks onto the device.

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Blog Posting Number: 477

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