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Will we ever have an eBook written by Albert Einstein?  YES!  Springer announced today plans to digitize their entire backlist, approximately 65,000 titles dating back to 1840.  Included are prominent authors  like Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Sir John Eccles, Lise Meitner, Werner Siemens, and Rudolf Diesel.  They anticipate the digitization process to be complete at the end of 2012, culminating into the Springer Book Archives (SBA).

Here’s more information from the press release:

Springer Science+Business Media has started its extensive digitization project, Springer Book Archives (SBA). The SBA initiative will include nearly all books that have been published since the 1840s. Springer expects that the book archives will contain around 65,000 titles. Titles include academically and historically unique works by Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Sir John Eccles, Lise Meitner, Werner Siemens, and Rudolf Diesel, to name just a few. The works in the digital archives will be available on the company’s platform SpringerLink just like all other Springer books, which have routinely been published in electronic and print versions since 2005. When this mammoth project is completed at the end of 2012, Springer will be able to offer more than 100,000 eBooks on www.springerlink.com.

Extensive research was necessary in the run-up to this monumental project to obtain the rights to digitize these books. Springer proactively contacts authors and copyright holders to clarify the issue of royalties for these digital editions.

Around 70 percent of the books in Springer Book Archives are in English, nearly 30 percent are in German with some Dutch-language titles. The ratio between scientific STM titles and professional literature is similar. These figures clearly reflect the company’s history over the years. The books in Springer’s book archives comprise a total of 17 different imprints, including German economics books by Gabler, the U.S. information technology publisher Apress and the U.S. non-fiction imprint Copernicus. Medical books account for the largest share of the book archives, at over 20 percent.

“The Springer Book Archives initiative confirms Springer‘s commitment to reactivate valuable publications from the past for the scientific community. At Springer, a book will never die,  but “out of print” will. Up to now, our past titles have been hidden away in our in-house library, but thanks to innovative technologies they can be made available again. We have made significant investments in this project and are convinced that the scientific community will find it useful,” said Derk Haank, CEO of Springer Science+Business Media.

Springer Science+Business Media (www.springer.com) is a leading global scientific publisher, delivering quality content through innovative information products and services.  The company is also a trusted provider of local-language professional publications in Europe, especially in Germany and the Netherlands. In the science, technology and medicine (STM) sector, the group publishes around 2,000 journals and more than 7,000 new books a year, as well as the largest STM eBook Collection worldwide.  Springer has operations in about 20 countries in Europe, the USA, and Asia, and more than 5,500 employees.  In 2010, it generated annual sales of around EUR 866 million.

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