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Updated: February 8, 2010 17:33 IST

Now, rent an e-book

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The Kindle 2 electronic reader. The new technology is expected to work across Kindle or Nook. Photo: AP
The Kindle 2 electronic reader. The new technology is expected to work across Kindle or Nook. Photo: AP

The new innovation, pending patent approval in the U.S. and Japan, allows readers to buy or rent books online without falling prey to pirated contents

A few years after electronic book readers made inroads into the publishing industry, a new innovation now allows readers to buy or rent books online without falling prey to pirated contents.

Launched at the recently concluded World Book Fair in the capital, “thisbookreader” allows readers to rent a book for a specific time and price set by publishers.

The innovation is pending patent approval in the U.S. and Japan. Only three Indian publishers have evinced interest in it so far.

“We have received interest from three publishers and talks are on to rope in more publishers to use the technology,” says Vidyut Shah, co-founder, Parth Online Bookstore, which has introduced the technology.

The technology, which also acts as an independent e-book reader can be purchased online or through physical book stores is based on an open source digital reading management and uses state-of-the-art encryption technology.

“Most of the electronic books available in the market are either pirated contents downloaded from various sites or hardware based e-books which are very costly,” says Mr. Shah.

Despite the global e-book market being worth over $ 2 billion, publishers in India, says Mr. Shah, are wary of putting serious reference books on subjects like law, accounting, tax, medical and business compliance online due to threat of piracy.

Jonathan Seifman, CCH Wolter Kluwer, a leading tax and business law information provider says, “Presently we have over 700 publications in print and electronic form for tax, accounting, legal, human resources, banking, securities, insurance, government and health care professionals. By adopting this technology we can introduce more books in the e-format which we held back due to piracy threats.”

Mr. Shah says with the help of the new innovation, readers need not buy books but merely rent them from the publishers or authors directly. “Since this is not hardware driven, it does not require an e-reader and can be downloaded onto desktops or laptop computers. The publisher, who is given the technology free of cost gets a percentage of the rent.”

The technology works across e-book hardware like Kindle or Nook and users need not buy expensive hardware but download it from individual publishers’ or authors’ websites.

Shobit Arya, publisher, Wisdom Tree says, “I am looking at it. We already have put some of our books online to be downloaded onto e-book readers, I will have to look at this new technology.”

“Since the technology is pending patent approval we have not given it to any independent evaluator,” says Mr. Shah.

Meanwhile, Jasmine Kaur, a student of Delhi University who was visiting the World Book Fair says, “I saw that this even provides facility to rent online books without purchasing an electronic reader and also readers can write and underline in their respective copies, just like a physical book. We can also flip pages of an e-book before buying it.”






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