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Old 08-13-2008, 08:45 PM   #1
charlieperry
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What % of books ever published are available in digital format?

This is a question for the actuaries out there.

At what point will I have the sum of human publishing output available to me over the internet?

How far away from completion are the book scanning projects?

Last edited by charlieperry; 08-13-2008 at 08:45 PM. Reason: ebook, digitisation, google, gutenberg, scanning
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:20 PM   #2
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I believe that it is difficult, if not impossible to find this out. To find the sum of human publishing isn't easy. Then to find out whether digital versions are available takes a bit of time.

It would involve taking the catalogues of say, the British Library and the Library of Congress, removing duplicate books (e.g. different editions of Jane Austen) and then searching for ebooks of their catalogue entries.
This task would have to be repeated for all languages, and on a daily basis, as new books are published or old ones rediscovered.

And you haven't said whether you are restricting yourself to legal books or whether you would count all the stuff on torrent sites.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:40 PM   #3
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The more pertinent question is when will what's avaialble on the internet *become* the sum of human publishing.
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Old 08-16-2008, 01:15 AM   #4
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Presumably all books which are being published now are at least being kept in digital format even if they are not necessarily always available to the public.

I think it is a very achievable feat to digitise the sum of human publishing. Once achieved I think it will rank up there with the mapping of the human genome as one of our great achievments.

Obviously the end point will never be clear but at some point the major libraries of the world will throw their hands up and say that to all intents and purposes their work is done.
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Old 08-16-2008, 01:21 AM   #5
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That's one tough question to come to a conclusion at the moment. However it may happen when the current ebook reading community actually becomes the major book reading population and grows on a worldwide scale.
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Old 08-16-2008, 01:27 AM   #6
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What would be interesting to me would be to find out what percentage of books published since books first began to be converted into digital format for both storage and printing have since been released commercially as ebooks. In other words, what percentage of books that could be quickly and easily converted into ebooks are actually available as such?

I suspect it might also depend on just when the majority of manuscripts were either submitted as electronic files, or when converting them into such became a normal part of the publishing industry. Maybe from the mid-Eighties on?
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Old 08-16-2008, 01:55 AM   #7
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