Classic novels and timeless stories from Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and countless other authors that are out-of-copyright will be made available by the British Library thanks to a partnership with Microsoft.
Around 65,000 ebooks will be available shortly which can be viewed on most e-book readers such as the Amazon Kindle. Microsoft helped the British Library digitise the books over the past three years and will be available in complete with their original typefaces and illustrations to add to the authenticity.
Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library, told the press that "Freeing historic books from the shelves has the potential to revolutionise access to the world's greatest library resources".
Around 40 percent of the 19th century books found at the British Library cannot be found in any other public libraries and they are unlikely to be offered on sale even at auction sites. However, Amazon will offer new editions of the books for as little as £15.
Microsoft has also provided the British Library with a new collaboration tool which is based on the company's Codeplex Platform.
The Research Information Centre or RIC will help "researchers and academics simplify the process of information search, facilitate discovery, efficiently manage research-related materials and enable versioning and archiving" according to Tony Hey, the corporate VP at Microsoft External Research.
What a great initiative from the BL and Microsoft. Tablets are about to undergo a massive rise popularity and the fact that you will soon be able to carry tens of thousands of books in one's palm and access them at any time open a world of opportunities.