Does Size Matter?
Google’s deal to make a vast amount of out-of-print material available online is coming into effect in the USA. Works from the US, Britain, Canada and Australia will be used, but under the proposals about 95 per cent of non-US books won’t be covered. Although the service will be available only in the US, Google said that it will expand to other countries. Google has already copied ten million books, seven million of which were out of print.
I think most of us are happy about this – it’s a way of defusing the chaos that has befallen the film industry, where piracy, release dates, region coding and digitisation have created a hopeless mess. Paper books should sit happily beside online works, and seem set to maintain their more glamourous image – but when one of the arguments for eReading is the saving of space, why do publishers insist on the airport format, ridiculous paving-stone sized volumes that are impossible to hold up?