Norway Library Offers Free E-Books

February 26, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. e-book /ˈiˌbʊk/ (n.) – a book version read through computers or gadgets
Example: Famous novels can now be ordered online as e-books.

2. genre /ˈʒɑnrə/ (n.) – specific class or category in arts and literature
Example: Most of the known books today are in the fantasy genre.

3. copyrighted /ˈkɒpiˌraɪtd/ (adj.) – protected by a legal right that prevents others to republish a material
Example: Some copyrighted books can be downloaded in illegal websites.

4. bestselling /ˈbɛstˈsɛlɪŋ/ (adj.) – successfully sold many copies
Example: The publisher of the bestselling Harry Potter book series continues to make good profit.

5. out of stock /aʊt ʌv stɒk/ (idiom) – not available
Example: The latest edition of the book is currently out of stock.


Read the text below.
The National Library of Norway now offers free e-book versions of various popular books.

Readers can access online books of different genres through the website “bokhylla” [bou-KHEE-la] (bookshelf in Norwegian). National Library head Vigdis Moe Skarstein [veg-dis mou SKAR-stahyn] said digitizing books is important in preserving these works for future generations. While most e-book collections from other libraries come from old books, works published until year 2000 are available in bokhylla.

The website operates legally since the authors of the copyrighted books have agreed with this project. The National Library signed an agreement with a group called Kopinor that represents major authors and publishers. Kopinor gets paid for every e-book page and the organization distributes the money among its members.

While these online books are free, only Internet users in Norway and foreign researchers can view the books in the website. Also, readers cannot download the e-books.

Authors can request for the removal of their work. So far, the site has removed 3,500 books. Most of them are school and children’s books, which have good sales in the market.

Bestselling novels by famous authors mostly compose the 135,000 e-books available in bokhylla. Another 115,000 will soon be added.

Norway has been successful in its  attempt to make e-books mainly because of its agreement with Kopinor. With this partnership, there is less complication in copyright issues. Before, many countries tried to digitize collections in their national libraries but got stuck in copyright problems.

According to Skarstein, the project does not seem to affect the sales of the printed books. Instead, bokhylla serves as a way to make some out of stock books available.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of bokhylla’s project? Why or why not?
·         If you were an author, would you let your work be available as free e-book? Kindly explain.

Discussion B

·         What are the most important books in your country?
·         Why should these books be preserved?


February 26, 2014