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Digital Entrepreneur Wants to Save Books

Brewster Kahle, who has pioneered efforts to digitize written information, wants to save a hard copy of every book. Larry Greenemeier reports

Digital books are flying off the proverbial shelves. So it might be hard to believe that someone wants to create a new library with at least 10 million books—the kind made from trees. Even stranger, the person creating the library is Internet entrepreneur Brewster Kahle, best known for founding the Internet Archive and Open Content Alliance.

The Internet Archive is a digital library Kahle started in 1996 to store a copy of every Web page ever created. The Archive lets the public upload or download digital material for free. Open Content Alliance, created in 2005, is a group of organizations that works to get permission from copyright holders to digitize their written material. Which then gets added to the Internet Archive. (Google Book Search does something similar, but without asking for permission.)

Kahle has done a lot to reduce our dependence on paper. So it may seem ironic that's he's also investing so much time and money to save books. But Kahle, who ultimately wants a copy of every book ever published, sees them as an endangered species that needs to be protected. He's not ready to write off the written page.

—Larry Greenemeier

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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