Norway National Library is about to offer books via online for free. It has already scanned over 135,000 books published before 2001. And the amount is going to reach 250,000.
Global Post: Literature goes online for free in Norway
There have been some similar projects to let old literatures be available through the internet without cost, such as Project Gutenberg. However, it is different that Norway will deal with the books which are protected by copyright. The Norwegian government is willing to pay the fee to the authors with contract. It seems to cost considerably.
The issue of copyright is still controversy. The US and some other developed countries have a strong attachment to guard the copyright. Copyright and related regulation are serious topics also in the negotiation regarding Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). So, this attempt in Norway is deemed to be challenging.
GoodEReader.com: Norway’s Answer to eBook Lending: Free Books
Of course I welcome Norwegian challenge. However, I am afraid that it is difficult to carry out this kind of attempt with larger size.
On the other hand, libraries are recognized as an enemy against publishers. National Diet Library had to compromise with some publishers as I wrote. In contrast, I hear some news that some libraries are criticized for presenting lots of best-selling books, it leads to reduction of sales of the publishers.
The library has a mission to provide opportunity of learning for all citizens. But it is possible that excessive lending service interfere current market activity. It is an essential dilemma with copyright.