Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is Napster Coming to a Book Near You?

Remember the uproar a few years back about teens downloading music online for free? Remember the lawsuits because they were sharing copyrighted songs by the thousands? Artists and producers who owned the rights to those songs forced Napster to change their way of doing business.

Newsweek predicts that the same scenario may happen to the book world. It all came to the forefront last month with a website for ArtizBookSnap. Sort of a scanner, except designed to handle books. According to the author, the book snapper is sort of a big, heavy, awkward contraption costing $1,600 that won’t, as it is, change the world. You have to turn the pages by hand, two cameras (not included) take pictures and send them to your computer then software transforms them so they’re readable on a screen or e-reader.

The significance of the ArtizBookSnap is that it could be the forerunner for a much more consumer-friendly device that would lead to a Napsterish for Books or an I-Pod-like e-book reader. People could create ebooks from their physical books then share them online with others. No paying the authors. To hell with copyrights.
That's when the idea of ripping books might really catch on, presumably with cheaper, cooler scanners. "It will be inevitable," says Booppanon. "And then the book industry will follow what happened with the music industry." Remember—Napster happened in a snap.

Sometimes it’s not the car coming down the road at you that you have to worry about. It’s the truck you can’t see yet.

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