Most books published in Norway before 2001 are going online for free thanks to an initiative that may have found the formula to reconcile authors with the web.
At a time when the publishing world is torn over its relationship to the internet - which has massively expanded access to books but also threatens royalty revenues - the National Library of Norway is digitising tens of thousands of titles, from masterworks by Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun to the first detective novels by Nordic noir king Jo Nesboe.
The copyright-protected books are available free online - with the consent of the copyright holders - at the website bokhylla.no ("bookshelf" in Norwegian).
The site currently features 135,000 works and will eventually reach 250,000, including Norwegian translations of foreign books.
"Many national libraries digitise their collections for conservation reasons or even to grant access to them, but those are (older) books that are already in the public domain," she said.
"We thought that, since we had to digitise all our collection in order to preserve it for the next 1000 years, it was also important to broaden access to it as much as possible."
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