Google has a knack of being ahead of the times – take their logo today, celebrating the birthday of Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) the English author who was best known for her children’s books, which featured animal characters such as Peter Rabbit.
Rupert Murdoch, one of the world’s most powerful media moguls, has compared the advent of the internet with the invention of the printing press. Although they occurred half a millennia apart, both gave ordinary people the power to access information that was previously available to a few.
As more publishers choose to digitise their content google is working with some of the world’s biggest libraries to creat a huge online resource. It’s partners include Oxford University, Standford University, the New York Public Library and Princeton University. Whatever would Beatrix say?
The initiative is contorversial. As well as teaming up with libraries, google has stuck deals with publishers, some of which are allowing the search engine to put their back-catalogues on the site, despite the obvious commercial drawbacks of allowing readers to access books free of charge.
What is your take on this? Printed versus online – smelling the pages rather than scrolling down them and enjoying a room FULL of books. We’d love to know your thoughts on this and feel free to complete the poll in the right hand column!
What does the future hold and is this the final chapter for printed books? Do tell!