This is the sort of thing that will make ereaders work

One of the big problems with ereaders is the cost.  Even if you get a great deal on the reader itself, you’re still stuck paying the exorbitant prices that Amazon and the like charge if you actually want to read a recent book.

The World Digital Library will make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials.

Manuscripts, rare books, significant cultural materials – these are the things that are in danger of being lost, things that only exist on paper.  While it’s great to have a paper copy of something written or printed long ago, in the end it’s the content that’s important, and the permanence of the content that’s more important still.

And all for free?  Some time in the not-too-distant future, we’ll see a day when the quality and quantity of free content for ebook readers will make companies like Amazon rethink the way they do business, and maybe even start charging for the real scarcities while giving away the infinite.

World Digital Library via TeleRead

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