Charleston, SC, and Rochester, NY, June 21, 2007 - BookSurge, an Amazon group (NASDAQ: AMZN) and leader in Print on Demand services, and Kirtas Technologies, a world leader in high-quality nondestructive book digitization, today announced a collaboration with universities and public libraries to preserve thousands of rare and inaccessible books from their collections and distribute them via BookSurge's Print-on-Demand service. This collaboration, which will greatly enhance the selection of rare and historic books for sale on Amazon.com and other retail channels, represents a breakthrough approach to digitization and preservation that will ensure the public will have access to these works indefinitely via Print on Demand. This initiative will also help these institutions fund their mission of preserving these vast literary collections by offering a revenue source from the sales of content these institutions own or that is in the public domain on Amazon.com. Kirtas will provide economical, nondestructive scanning technology. In addition to providing funding for their ongoing digitization efforts, this collaboration gives libraries and universities complete control over what is being scanned in their collections.
Emory University, University of Maine, Toronto Public Library, and Cincinnati Public Library are the first organizations to enter into agreements with Kirtas to make their rare-book collections available to a readership that extends far beyond their physical geographies to include an audience of millions of Amazon.com customers. This preservation effort is the only method that allows university and public libraries to preserve books and print them on demand as they are ordered. Participating institutions retain full control over what is digitized, so they now have an economical way to preserve, reproduce and distribute important works that may be disappearing from their shelves.
"There are thousands of books that have been unavailable altogether or incredibly difficult to find and access, so we're thrilled to be making reproductions of these unique, collectible books available to millions of Amazon.com customers," said David Symonds, general manager, BookSurge. "And, by offering these works on Amazon.com and through other retail channels, it gives new generations an easy way to find books they never would have even known about, much less had access to. It's a winning solution for libraries, research institutions and customers."
BookSurge and Kirtas now give research universities and public libraries a viable way to cost-effectively and indefinitely extend the shelf life and distribution capabilities of the unique book collections to which they own the rights. These collections can now be re-created through gentle scanning with Kirtas' state-of-the-art robotic technology - capturing the scholarly and culturally significant content that might otherwise be lost forever - and then printed on demand as Amazon customers order using BookSurge technology.
"This is the first large-scale digitization initiative that puts the research libraries and universities in full control of their content," said Lotfi Belkhir, CEO and founder of Kirtas. "Our new initiative with BookSurge enables organizations to rapidly and safely digitize their invaluable collections at the highest quality standards and offers them a sustainable business model that extends their reach far beyond the physical confines of their institutions."
Print-on-demand books purchased by Amazon.com customers are available for shipping within hours after they are ordered. Customers who choose overnight shipping can receive their books the next day, often less than 24 hours after the order was placed.
Kirtas is helping to fund this preservation effort by discounting the costs associated with this program for select research universities and public libraries. To find out more about BookSurge Print on Demand services, please visit www.booksurge.com. For more information on Kirtas, please visit www.kirtastech.com.
BookSurge and Kirtas Partner Quotes
"We believe that mass digitization and print-on-demand publishing is an important new model for digital scholarship that is going to revolutionize the management of academic materials," said Martin Halbert, director for digital programs and systems at Emory's Robert W. Woodruff Library. "Information will no longer be lost in the mist of time when books go out of print. This is a way of opening up the past to the future."
"The digitization of our own collections is the next step in providing the resources that the University Community and the citizens of the State of Maine need for their research," said Joyce Rumery, Dean of Libraries, University of Maine. "This project will allow users access to materials that are now largely unavailable to most potential users."
"For the first time, this collaboration allows an individual to own a print copy of the rarest books in the world," said Jason J. Buydos, director, Technical Services, Cincinnati Public Library.
"And digitization allows librarians to move away from being the curators of the rare book museum and back toward the true tenets of librarianship - enabling access to the ideas and information locked within the content of those rare books."
Toronto Public Library, North America's largest library, plans to leverage Amazon.com's worldwide reach and Kirtas's unique technology to share historic Canadian material and thousands of other rare works. "This initiative creates an opportunity for libraries to preserve rare works and ensure they'll be available for generations to come," said Linda Mackenzie, director, Research and Reference Libraries, Toronto Public Library. "Through digitization, our library shelves will span virtually the entire globe."
BookSurge, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc., is a pioneer in print-on-demand services. BookSurge offers state-of-the-art Print on Demand services to the book publishing industry.
About Kirtas Technologies
Kirtas Technologies was founded in 2001 with the vision of bringing to the digital realm the massive knowledge sitting on library shelves, government archives and corporate storerooms. Today, the company's revolutionary technology redefines digitization of all bound documents, delivering gentler handling and higher image quality faster, with fewer errors, and at a lower cost than any other solution in the marketplace. For more information, visit www.kirtastech.com http://www.kirtastech.com/
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