“E-books have made impressive inroads into the English-reading world, but their success in Europe — even among wealthy, tech-savvy countries with robust publishing industries — remains spotty at best. In the United States and Britain, sales of e-books represent between a quarter and a third of the consumer book market and, by 2018, will edge out printed and audio books as the most lucrative segment, according to projections by the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. But the picture is radically different in continental Europe. Last year, digital books made up 8 percent of the consumer book market in France, less than 4 percent in Germany and Italy, and 1 percent in Sweden and Norway.” (NYTimes.com)
“In early October the European Commission published two reports on the current state of digitisation of cultural heritage material in Europe: one report addresses progress in the area of digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation, while the other looks more specifically at the situation around European film heritage in the digital era. Both reports conclude that although more cultural content has been made available online in recent years, there is still a lot of work to be done.” (via OpenGLAM)
“European libraries are allowed to digitize books without the consent of the rights holder, the senior advisor to Europe’s top court said Thursday. The European Copyright Directive does not prevent the digitization of books in a library’s collection if those books are made accessible to the public on dedicated terminals, wrote Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen in a formal opinion to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Under the directive, member states must grant authors the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit the reproduction of public works. But there are specific exceptions that apply to libraries which are allowed to make books public for the purpose of research or private study, he said.” (via PCWorld)
“The Leo Baeck Institute, a New York research library and archive devoted to documenting the history of German-speaking Jewry, has completed the digitization of its entire archive, which will provide free online access to primary-source materials encompassing five centuries of Jewish life in Central Europe. The expanded archive, which will be available on Oct. 16, purports to be the first of its kind to be made available on the Internet in its entirety. The project, named DigiBaeck, offers digital access to a collection that includes 3.5 million pages of material ranging from the personal papers and photographs of Albert Einstein and Moses Mendelssohn to letters, diaries, recipes and other ephemera chronicling the lives of everyday people.”
via New York Times
“Europe, including the UK, would have a growing economy today if we had a real digital single market. Just look at the ebooks market. While ebooks are booming around the world, Europe is shooting itself in the foot. Our fledgling ebooks market is fragmented along national lines and struggles to make up 1% of the total books market, though at least the UK gives us hope by reaching 15%. In the United States, where ebooks are 31% of the market, print isn’t dying. More people are reading more books than ever before. They also make books social by interacting with texts and sharing their favourite parts.
BBC – “The cultural life of Europe will suffer unless more effort is made to clarify what libraries can do with so-called orphan works, says a study”
NYT – “EUROPEAN cities are feet-on-the-pavement destinations, where many of us find ourselves trudging along familiar routes with hordes of tourists just like us. To take a break, we are likely to stop at the cafes and museum gardens already overcrowded with fellow travelers. But relief could be at hand, in the guise of cities’ libraries, which are often ignored by visitors. Here are some of my favorites.”