The Cornell University Library is increasing its print-on-demand books on Amazon.com to over 80,000 titles.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
By the end of 2009, tens of thousands of new books will be added to the approximately 6,000 items in Cornell’s collection already available on Amazon. All of the books are in the public domain in the United States, and many are currently out of print.
"Although demand for online access to digital books has been growing, books as artifacts continue to have a real value," said Oya Rieger, Associate University Librarian for Information Technologies. "This initiative supports the reading and research patterns of users who prefer the affordances provided by physical books—they support deep reading, underlining and writing comments in the margins. The Web is great for easy access and browsing, but because digital content can sometimes be ephemeral, physical books continue to serve as valuable reference sources on your shelf."
Positive feedback from users helped contribute to the decision to expand the number of titles available. "The publication of this little book adds valuable primary source material for students of the War of 1812. Bravo to Cornell for making it available," one customer wrote. Another said, "Words cannot express how grateful I am that Cornell University saw fit to republish these two papers."
The books that will be added throughout 2009 were digitized with the support of Microsoft over the last two years. These new volumes represent a substantial part of the Library’s rare and unique offerings printed before 1923.
They will reflect Cornell’s subject strengths, including American history, English literature, astronomy, food and wine, general engineering, the history of science, home economics, hospitality and travel, human sexuality, labor relations, Native American materials, ornithology, veterinary medicine and women's studies. Collections already available for reprint from Amazon include New York state historical literature, core historical literature in agriculture, historical math monographs and materials related to home economics.
Cornell University Library has been a cutting-edge participant with print-on-demand services and mass digitization initiatives, partnering with multiple outlets to make its collections available to the public. The partnership with Amazon began in 2006, and the Library is currently engaged in a large-scale digitization initiative with Google that will create 500,000 digitized books over the next six years.
For a sample of the titles offered on Amazon, go to bookstore.library.cornell.edu, and check Amazon.com throughout the year to see new titles as they are added.