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BookServer: Internet Archive leaps into book indexing

Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, announced the non-profit will launch a cataloging and book search system, called BookServer, that connects readers with copies of the books they want, whether in a library, online or at a bookseller. BookServer is an open alternative to the catalogues maintained by Amazon, Google and others that could connect authors offering e-books directly to readers.

The service is based on an open specification for digital book distribution co-developed by the Internet Archive, Threepress, Feedbooks, OLPC, Adobe, the Book Oven and other organizations, according to the announcement. The system is not designed solely to support distribution of free content, but also books and e-books for sale. It is also several years away from realization, CNET’s Daniel Terdiman reports.

The announcement goes on to say that everyone will benefit:

  • Authors find wider distribution for their work.
  • Publishers both big and small can distribute books directly to readers.
  • Book sellers find new and larger audiences for their products.
  • Device makers can offer access to millions of books instantly.
  • Libraries can continue to loan books in the way that patrons expect.
  • Readers get universal access to all knowledge.

The service was announced by the Internet Archive this evening in San Francisco. Kahle, who founded Alexa (which he sold to Amazon) and the Bookmobile POD service, along with the WayBack Machine service, doesn’t do small ideas. BookServer looks promising. I think it can be the foundation for a lot of interesting reading enhancements. We’ll discuss that later.

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1 comment to BookServer: Internet Archive leaps into book indexing

  • Lee Strakbein

    I held off purchasing a kindle when the original came out, but finally broke down when the kindle 2 was released. One of the doubts I had about purchasing the kindle was that I already have an iphone, and I can and have downloaded ebooks onto it. Of course, I haven’t actually read much of the books on the iphone, because it’s not really reader-friendly … the screen is small, and the battery doesn’t last long enough to be used in the way I use books. Still undecided, I placed an order for kindle 2, then cancelled, then ordered again. And finally, it arrived.

    There are a few glitches I’ve had. Sometimes I have a difficult time moving newly purchased items from my archives into my library, and there is one book I purchased on the kindle itself, after downloading a sample, which I haven’t been able to get to download onto the kindle at all. I sent an e-mail to customer service, and they sent an e-mail with a phone number, but I haven’t called it … still stubbornly trying to figure that one out.

    But the kindle is great to read on. It does just “disappear” in the way a book does. The reading flows more easily as well, because I am never having to hunt for my lost places when I put down a book and pick it up. It’s really just great for reading, unlike the iphone.

    The greatest thing I’ve found is something I’d never seen mentioned in the voluminous promotional blurbs on kindle, and that is that IT SYNCHRONIZES WITH THE IPHONE! I can access my entire kindle library from my iphone, and when I open a book on my iphone, it opens to the spot where I left off on my kindle. This is awesome, because I just cannot stand to be stuck wasting time, standing in line at the grocery store or post office. I consider that to be a waste of good reading time, and I do like to pull out a book and start reading in line. But that can be cumbersome, especially for relatively short waits. It is really easy, though, to pull out my iphone and read a few pages in my kindle book while I’m waiting.

    Regarding the text to speech feature, that is something I have used also. I have just plugged the kindle into the jack I use for my iphone in my car, and it reads away while I’m commuting. At first I had a hard time believing it wasn’t someone actually reading the book, because the pronunciation and enunciation are really excellent for mechanical speech. You CAN, of course, tell that it is mechanical speech, but it is still very good. It sounds a bit better when you slow it down from the default speed.

    So if you have any doubts about whether or not you should buy a kindle, I think you should. And by the way, I don’t miss the pretty covers and the feel of the books like I thought I would. Being able to carry an entire library in my purse far more than makes up for it, in the same way my music library in itunes makes those CD cases obsolete. I-tunes does give you an option to download the cover art, in full color, and the kindle is monochromatic, but if you download your books onto your i-phone, you will find their lovely color covers displayed in your library for your enjoyment.

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