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British Library partners with Amazon on book project

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A new deal between the British Library and Amazon will make 65,000 largely out-of-print 19th century titles available on Amazon via CreateSpace’s Print on-Demand service and as free downloads for Amazon Kindle owners.

These titles, over 25 million pages of content, were originally digitised in partnership with Microsoft Livesearch. The deal covers Amazon’s sites in USA, the UK, France and Germany, and Amazon’s wireless portable reading device Kindle.

Estimates suggest that roughly 35 to 40 per cent of the British Library’s 19th century British printed collections are either unique, or at least inaccessible through other major libraries in the UK and abroad.

Through print on-demand with CreateSpace, part of the Amazon group of companies, readers will be able to have their own copies of these previously rare and inaccessible titles now in the public domain, including some classic first editions, re-printed at an affordable price.

'The British Library’s deal with Amazon to make literary gems available through print-on-demand and the Kindle e-book reader is a landmark agreement in more ways than one. Unlocking 65,000 titles of 19th century material for new generations to discover, the deal also shows how innovative public sector institutions can keep moving ahead, even in a tough economic climate,' said Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library. 'Re-imagining our relationships with both private and public sector partners is absolutely essential for extending our ability to connect with our users. The British Library has much to offer major commercial organisations such as Amazon, giving us an opportunity to leverage the high value of our collections to ensure doors that might have been closed for lack of funding remain open.'