Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Robots Who Read and Stolen Books

I found a couple of short, but intriguing, little news items this morning. Both of the articles had me shaking my head in wonder and ending with a smile because they are so "out of the box" and not something that I expected to ever see.

The first bit comes from EarthTimes.org and talks about a German "robot" that has been given a two-year job of reading historically important books and storing them in its digital memory.
One of Germany's greatest treasuries of books, the Bavarian State Library in Munich, said Tuesday it had set a robot to work "reading" the books and storing more than 7.5 million images of the pages in its digital memory. The device, which uses gentle suction and a breath of air to turn the pages, is to work until 2009, digitizing 37,000 German-language books dating from the period 1518 to 1600.

Library officials said the images would then be put on the internet.
The robot can scan up to 1,500 books an hour, with human staff only having to put each book into position. Library staff say they are confident it will not damage the priceless old books.
And then there's news from PressTV about a "most stolen" index being used at the huge Frankfort Book Fair to predict which new books are going to sell best later this year.
The Frankfurt Book Fair is using the 'most stolen book' index to help publishers estimate public interest in their new publications.

Bild am Sonntag and Germany's ZDF television have prepared lists of the most stolen titles from 15 leading German publishers' stands in the Frankfurt trade fair grounds.

"The most-stolen books are usually the most-sold later on," said Claudia Hanssen of the Goldmann Verlag publishing house.

"They're the popular ones and are most likely to end up on the best-seller lists," Hanssen added.
You just never know, do you?


  1. Interesting that they're using stolen book rates to indicate interest for sales purposes. Apparently more controversial books- the ones that are often banned- are also often stolen. The theory is that they're preventing someone else from reading a book they personally find objectionable. How delicious then that the act of stealing them might actually push more of those books onto the market!

  2. rofl... I love both of those ideas. The latter is particularly ingenious!

  3. The books people are too embarrased to take up to the registers are often sold, too. There's an author, goes by Zane, who writes really raunchy stuff. Her stuff rarely sells, but it often disappears.

  4. Sorry, I meant they're often stolen, not sold.

  5. I hadn't thought of that way, John. That's an interesting point. It reminds me of people who hide certain books on the shelves of a bookstore hoping that no one ever finds them again...sort of what I'd like to do with the OJ book if I actually ever see one on the shelf someplace.

  6. That's pretty sad, Annie. People should have the courage to buy whatever it is they want to read...makes me wonder about their courage in other ways, too.

    Do you think I should quit stealing all those romance novels and practice what I preach? LOL