Friday, October 31, 2008

A bookshop in a shopping mall? My word
By Alex Clark writing in The The Telegraph 31/10/2008

The renowned independent bookshop Foyles is evidently treating with some scepticism rumours of the demise of the book. ­At least, that's the message I took from the fact that yesterday, when the vast new London shopping centre Westfield threw open its doors, the company had staked a claim to 12,000 square feet of retail space over two floors - a space it plans to fill with 35,000 titles.
No doubt Foyles has made some provision in its business plans for the rise of the e-book, but this is surely a statement of intent: the printed word, it implies, is going nowhere fast. Besides, in these straitened times, books represent pretty good value for money.

In America, however, they're looking forward, and a rumbling legal dispute over the digitisation of the printed word has gone some way to settling itself. Google, which has digitised seven million books as part of the Google Book Search and has a further 20 million in its sights, came to an arrangement this week with the Authors Guild and US publishers regarding possible future infringements of copyright. The online behemoth has found a spare $125,000 in its pockets to compensate those who might have found grounds to object to their work's unhindered transmission.
Those on the side of the writers proclaim themselves delighted at a "win-win" outcome. Google doesn't seem concerned either, for it will easily recoup the money by offering subscriptions to its online material to libraries - invaluable material that will include untold numbers of out-of-print books.
Read the full piece here.

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