Thursday, 16 January 2014

Norway puts 135,000 books online - for free

I read that the Norwegian National Library is to put more than 135,000 books online for free. The books are still in copyright and the publishers and authors will be paid for their books, says the Daily Telegraph.

The books have to have been published prior to 2000 and any conversions to digital medium must be approved by the copyright holders. Books by such renowned authors as Stephen King, Jo Nesbo, John Steinbeck and Ken Follett are included in the scheme.

Chief of the National Library of Norway, Vigdis Moe Skarstein said that the project was the first to offer free access to books still in copyright (which expires 70 years after an author’s death in Norway).

The Library made an agreement with Kopinor, which represents publishers and authors, such that for every page that goes online 0.36 Norwegian kroner (roughly 4p) will be paid to Kopinor.

Access to the website making these books available is limited to Norwegian internet users, and books are not available to download.

This might be another case of fear for the future of physical books, but seemingly sales have not been adversely affected. Instead, the feeling is that old titles are being given a new lease of life. More than 115,000 books from the collection have already been read via this medium.

Moe Skarstein said: "Books are increasingly becoming perishable goods. When the novelty effect fades out, they sink into oblivion . . . We thought that, since we had to digitise all our collection in order to preserve it for the next 1,000 years, it was also important to broaden access to it as much as possible."


  1. A great way to preserve books and it is encouraging that sales of physical books are not affected by the new digital collections. Both media are valuable.

  2. No need to buy physical books at al if they are giving them away free....