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The present and the future of eBooks discussed in the Presidential Library

18 November 2011

On November 18 2011 the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library ran a roundtable discussion “Electronic Book: Modern Technologies and Publishing”. Librarians, publishers and writers exchanged their ideas on a question: which are the prospects of eBooks and what is the demand for digital editions?

The discussion touched upon the problems of publishing industry – Who will publish eBooks in Russia; How do eBooks influence the publishing industry; How to protect such editions from illegal distribution.

The host of the roundtable discussion – CEO of Internet Publishers Association V. V. Kharitonov mentioned that an eBook – was a salvation of the book industry which was going through crisis. He offered the results of polls which show that 18% of adults in Russia read eBooks. At the same time publishing houses in Russia turned out to be unprepared for the demand existing on the eBook market.

A participant of the roundtable discussion A. V. Savkin highlighted that an eBook was gradually replacing a traditional book, which was hard to find. This primarily concerns rare editions or books, e.g. in ancient Greek, which are required for conducting studies.

The discussion addressed the place of a digital library in the modern world. Attendees exchanged their ideas on the matter of using eBooks in education. Specialists of the Presidential Library spoke about educational projects based on its own electronic collections underway at the library, and also outlined new forms of work searched by libraries with an appearance of eBooks.

For example, a particular feature of “Russia in the Digital World” interactive Olympiad is involvement of the Presidential Library’s collections. To successfully complete the tasks of the Olympiad participants need to read the books available on the library’s website in “Textbooks on the History of Russia” section.

Among participants of the meeting were heads of “Lan” and “Symposium” publishing companies - A. V. Nikiforov and A. K. Kononov, CEO of the company-developer of FBReader – the program for reading eBooks – A. Yu. Shmartsev, and the Chairman of St. Petersburg Union of Writers - V. G. Popov.