I. Warming up
1. Do you prefer paper books or eBooks? Give your reasons.
2. Do you use online libraries? What books can you get there?
3. Have you ever heard of copyright violation cases associated with online libraries?
4. Do you share the opinion that traditional books will soon become obsolete?
Read the text and consider the questions below.
Google Books – Online Literature Library
By C. Holgate
The idea of Google Books was first conceived in 2002 when a small group of Google programmers started pondering the question of how many man hours it would take to scan every single book ever written. We still don’t know the true answer to this question although just eight years from the idea conception there are now over 10 million books catalogued in their database.
While the first scan was done manually on a 300 page book and took 40 minutes to process, Google now use cameras capable of scanning at a rate of 1,000 pages an hour and also work with 20,000 publisher partners who provide content directly. They have also been able to provide over 1 million books that can be read in full from cover to cover; these unrestricted works are either books that have fallen out of copyright or have been provided with publishers express permission.
As well as simply scanning the books, Google performs OCR (Optical Character Recognition) on the pages, thereby turning them in to pure text which can be entered in to their database. As a result when you do a Google Search you are now not only returned results from relevant websites but also your search terms are checked against a library encompassing millions of books and appropriate matches are suggested for further reading.
The integration in to the Google Search engine means you may have already inadvertently stumbled across Google Books but if you haven’t and are eager to explore then the Google Books can be found by visiting the site http://books.google.co.uk/ directly. Being a Google service, it almost goes without saying that the service is completely free of charge and is instead paid for via a minimal number of sponsored links which are in no way intrusive or detrimental to the service.
From the Google Books site you can perform searches, add books to your virtual library or organise your collection in a logical manner. Searching for a book and then subsequently clicking on it opens an interface which allows you to either view the directly scanned pages from the book or in some instances a ‘plain text’ version. This plain text can then be copied and passed to another application or simply printed out for reading offline.
Books still under copyright enjoy the protection of a variety of access limitations and security measures which limit the number of viewable pages making the experience somewhat akin to being able to flick through the first couple of pages in a library or bookshop. Despite this protection there have rather predictably been a number of fairly major lawsuits issued by individuals and publishers alike; some with legitimate grievances and others just seeking money or publicity.
Possibly the most notable case was between The Authors Guild, the publishing industry and Google which resulted in Google agreeing to a settlement on October 28, 2008. This would see them pay a total $125 million not only to pay the court costs of the plaintiffs but also create a Book Rights Registry which will collect and disburse revenue generated by all third party sites such as Google which provide content based on the content of books covered by the agreement.
These issues aside, on the whole I am amazed that again this relatively new company have been able to offer such an incredible gift to the world. With Google Books we have the potential to preserve centuries of human literacy work for generations to come as well as promoting the spread and availability of knowledge amongst all groups and all classes of people.
1. What books are available online in a scanned form? What are the restrictions for using such books?
2. How has the process of scanning changed over the years?
3. What are the peculiarities of Google Books service?
Read the text and consider the questions below.
Why eBooks will Replace Traditional Books
By R. Uno
Remember when people listened to audio tracks on cassettes and watched videos on VHS tapes? Those mediums of storage have now become obsolete, with CDs and DVDs ruling the roost. One extremely ancient medium that has held out against the digital invasion, is the novel or printed book. But its days look numbered too, with the rising popularity of the eBook. Learn why the eBook can replace the paperback, as the new form of literature .
The best and sometimes worst aspect of man’s nature, is his urge to better his condition through replacements and upgrades. Fed up of walking everywhere, cavemen domesticated horses to ride, which in turn were replaced by automobiles, now man’s primary form of transport. While man has always expanded his horizons to new and greater heights, in the field of digital technology, especially with computers, his leaps and bounds are a wondrous feat.
One-room computers became desktops, which became laptops, which now are tablets and smartphones. The next platform for such physical compression, seems to be the written word in the form of novels and books. The eBook is the digital version of a traditional paperback, in a digital page-by-page format, readable on a compatible device. This electronic reading ability has taken the tech market by storm, with Amazon and Barnes and Noble, two major publishers fighting it out with their respective eBook readers. So ultimately will eBooks replace paper books and relegate them to the literal bookshelves of history? In this article, learn why the newcomer, the eBook, has the muscle power and the specs to replace printed literature.
The Advantage of the eBook
Below, the benefits of eBooks over traditional books are outlined.
Obviously the device for reading an eBook costs more than a paperback novel. The Nook and the Kindle both cost around $140, with the Nook Color costing $250. So an e-reader will cost at least $100, while your average paperback costs between $20-$50. But get this, eBooks cost $5-$10 at a minimum and at a maximum, can touch $30. So even if you have to spend on a device initially, you can download, purchase and read more eBooks in the amount of money spent to buy a paperback.
Storing books needs room, space, cupboards and area. Whether you stack them up, put them in boxes or leave them lying around, one fact remains – the more books you have, the smaller your room seems to get. Plus preserving paperbacks is not an easy task. Dust, age, little dust mites and silverfish can all turn today’s bestseller into a yellowing, falling-apart collection of pages. EBooks require no cupboards, no rooms and no boxes. Whether you store them on a laptop, tablet or an e-reader, they occupy the same digital space. And unless you press “delete”, they will not turn into paper bits. OK, viruses or accidental deletion can destroy your eBook collection but you can make a backup of your eBooks. Unless you buy a separate copy or make xeroxes of each book, it is impossible to make a backup of your paperback collection.
How many paperbacks can one physically carry around, in hand or in a bag? Printed books can be hardbacks, which add to weight. In addition, there is the distance being traveled to consider. Catching a flight or from one class across campus to the other, carrying more than 5 books will turn you into a hunchback! There is a physical limitation to how many books can be carried around by one individual. Now think about how many books a child can carry or a senior citizen.
With eBooks, all you need is an e-reader to carry around a whole virtual library. No back-breaking loads to lift and carry around across distances, a one-stop digital device holds all your books in the digital format. Considering the compressed size of an eBook, a huge volume like say The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Tolkien, can be stored on the e-reader at a size of approximately 10-15 MB. So imagine how many titles you can load in one e-reader, depending on its memory capacity. Much more than 5–6 paperbacks. Plus any e-reader available today is infinitely lighter and thinner than a paperback. So carrying around your e-reader allows you to read on the go and makes reading easier on your back too.
With an eBook, the problem of being “out of print” or “no recent edition” is never a problem. Once created and stored in a digital format, the book is never out of print.
An eBook can be read over multiple devices. You can read the same eBook on your laptop, a desktop, an e-reader and even on some mobile phones. True, there are many different digital formats and compatibility can be an issue. But the digital medium is very adjusting and converting between said formats can be done.
Reading in the most impossible situations like, in low or no light and while walking or on the move, becomes possible. Plus for ease of access, font sizes and picture quality can be adjusted, so even with those with poor vision can read at ease.
When it comes to languages, paperbacks can be very inconvenient. Only the most famous and popular books are printed in different languages, that to, they are not printed in most languages. Here’s where an eBook trounces a paperback. EBooks are available in different languages and dialects or the e-reader offers a translation option. So if you want to read the English translation of Voltaire’s works or read the plays of Shakespeare in French, no need to order a book or run around behind various bookstores searching for a translated copy, just go online and download the version you want.
To get an eBook to read, all you have to do is go online, visit the online eBook store from your e-reader or search for eBooks, purchase and download. Ready for your reading pleasure. You can peruse through multiple books or authors or search for a particular title. With books, you need to visit your local bookstore or shop, lending library, ask your friends and neighbors... more time is spent in searching for a book, than actually reading it. Plus on the Internet, there is an amazing array of books to choose from. Amazon alone offers nearly 950,000 eBooks for the Kindle.
An eBook is not made of paper or ink or plastic or any material except digital code. Hence no natural resources are spent in its creation, use or deletion. One paperback requires at least one tree for its production. Its production process also consumes raw materials. So for a smaller green footprint, reading an eBook seems to be the better choice.
From the above points, does the future of books and libraries and stores that carry them seem dim? If eBook purchasing prices and the price of e-readers increase, then books will still reign supreme amongst the masses. On the other hand, keeping the example of cassettes and VHS tapes in mind, an ever-increasing library of eBooks could soon be the normal mode of reading. For now the debate rages on, only time will bring out a winner.
1. What is the difference between a replacement and an upgrade? From your point of view, which is better?
2. List the benefits of an eBook.
3. In what way is buying books online more convenient than going to a local bookstore?
III. Focus on the language
1. Think of an innovation that has recently taken the tech market by storm. Describe its advent and after-effects using the following words and expressions.
To ponder the question, to conceive, to offer such an incredible gift to the world, the most notable case, replacement, upgrade, to have the potential, to expand smb’s horizons, to reign supreme amongst the masses.
2. Explain the difference between a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, an eBook reader.
IV. Problem solving
1. Prove that the field of digital technology develops by leaps and bounds.
2. Agree or disagree: eBook is the new form of literature.
3. Agree or disagree: It is difficult to protect copyright when it comes to online libraries.
4. Get ready for a group discussion on the topic: Lawsuits against Google – legitimate grievances or seeking publicity?
5. Work out tips on how to organize your own virtual library.
V. Useful tips for your presentations
To prepare a presentation in the format of a talk show, consider the following information.
A talk show or chat show (as it is known in the UK) is a television programming or radio programming genre in which one person (or group of people) discusses various topics put forth by a talk show host.
Usually, guests consist of a group of people who are learned or who have great experience in relation to whatever issue is being discussed on the show for that episode. Other times, a single guest discusses their work or area of expertise with a host or co-hosts. A call-in show takes live phone calls from callers listening at home, in their cars, etc. Sometimes, guests are already seated but are often introduced and enter from backstage.
There are several major formats of talk shows. Generally, each sub-genre predominates during a specific programming block during the broadcast day.
Breakfast chat or early morning shows that generally alternate between news summaries, political coverage, feature stories, celebrity interviews, and musical performances.
Late morning chat shows that feature two or more hosts or a celebrity panel, and focus on entertainment and lifestyle features.
Daytime talk shows , generally featuring a host, a guest or a panel of guests, and a live audience that interacts extensively with the host and guests. These shows may feature celebrities, political commentators, or “ordinary” people who present unusual or controversial topics.
“Lifestyle” or self-help programs, which generally feature a host or hosts who are medical practitioners, therapists, or counselors, and guests who seek intervention, describe medical or psychological problems, or offer advice.
Late night talk shows that feature celebrity guests who talk about their work and personal lives as well as their latest films, TV shows, music recordings or other projects they'd like to promote to the public. The hosts are often comedians who open the shows with comedy monologues.
“Sunday talk” or political discussion shows are a staple of network programming in North America. These shows feature elected political figures and candidates for office, commentators, and journalists.
These formats are not absolute. Syndicated “daytime” shows may appear overnight in some markets, and some afternoon programs have similar structures to late night talk shows.
These formats may vary across different countries or markets. Late night talk shows are especially significant in the United States. Breakfast telly is a staple of British television. The daytime talk format has become popular in Latin America as well as the United States.
VI. Working on the project
Conduct a talk show dedicated to the topic: People have a constant urge to better their conditions. Follow the useful tips above.