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The New York Public Library Goes Digital

06.21.12
Shawn Ahdoot

The New York Public library and the Brooklyn Public Library has announced a partnership with Penguin Group and 3M…

The New York Public library and the Brooklyn Public Library recently struck a deal with Penguin Group and 3M that will put Penguin’s ebooks back on the digital shelves of the two libraries’ managed servers. A one-year pilot program was designed to test the viability for digital libraries to loan out copies of e-books to its members.

ebooks and ereaders

Penguin has long been one of the four major publishers that have not made their catalog of e-books available to libraries. Along with Random House and HaperCollins, Penguin was weary of libraries undercutting the sale of newly released e-books and security concerns about the large sharing of e-book files. The pilot program with two major New York City public library systems will delay the release of new titles for six months after they go on sale. The pilot will also test out the new security system of the library’s online servers as well as the security implemented inside the e-books itself. If the pilot proves successful, avid readers will be able to have a choice between checking out a digital copy or a print one.

E-books and online publication subscriptions have gained popularity these past few years due to the increasing use of e-readers like the Kindle Fire. Digital distributions have become the new trend of the 21st century. The availability of high speed internet access have prep a new generation of instant streaming entertainment where users can get what they want, when they want it. Books have already begun making its transition to the digital world to target this new generation of on demand readers.

Penguin Group is a publisher of several bestselling novels and is working with 3M, an online book distribution company, to distribute e-books to libraries across the United States. 3M will be able to distribute to libraries on a separate platform and has signed a deal with Penguin to make their products available. Penguin hopes that the one-year pilot will be successful and that it will boost the sales of its books through being able to reach a wider audience. Before the pilot, many libraries could loan out digital copies of books from four of the biggest publishing companies due to restrictions imposed by publisher.

new york public library

This is a small stepping stone for libraries but can lead to a big leap for all of mankind. The New York Public Library have begun digitizing thousands of historical documents earlier this year due to a generous donation from The Polonsky Foundation. Books represent the build-up of human knowledge over the years. Digitizing books will serve to compact the knowledge into easily searchable bits of information that are housed inside dedicated servers and made accessible to millions of users through the connectivity provided by data centers much like our own.

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