Recently the Internet Archive introduced a significant new project known as BookServer that could not only give Amazon and Google some competition but incorporate free, borrowed, and paid digital content into one model that benefits many of the stakeholders in the industry. According to the website, BookServer is “a growing open architecture for vending and lending digital books over the Internet. Built on open catalog and open book formats, the BookServer model allows a wide network of publishers, booksellers, libraries, and even authors to make their catalogs of books available directly to readers through their laptops, phones, netbooks, or dedicated reading devices.”
According to an article from Information Today, Inc., BookServer is still in development and may take years to complete but users will be able to type a title, author, or keyword into a search engine and a list of results will display to show the bookstores, libraries, and publisher websites where the digital book can be purchased or borrowed. A search engine such as this could benefit consumers because it could help reduce the confusion associated with determining which formats work on particular devices and where to find specific titles. Peter Brantley from the Internet Archive explained that what consumers really want is to “be able to find the books they want, in the formats that they can use, for the device that they have, and not have it be painful.” In addition, authors, publishers, booksellers, and libraries would be able to make the books available for discovery while controlling the pricing and access rights of the content. Content owners do not have this type of control with Amazon and Google.
A posting on ReadWriteWeb explains, “While the project isn't exactly a direct effort to take down Amazon's online bookstore or Google's upcoming online eBook store called Google Editions, it will provide book publishers and online libraries with the means to more effectively compete with those companies. By allowing publishers to set their own pricing and manage the distribution of their books, they will be able to take back control from Amazon and Google who would rather dictate those terms for them.”