The FINANCIAL — According to a study made by The FINANCIAL, e-book readers with Georgian Unicode font are going to be brought to Georgia in the early autumn of 2010. “Singular Group” has taken the plunge to develop the custom digital book store application/service, which can be integrated in popular e-readers, such as Amazon Kindle.
“Singular Group LLC and Book Store LTD are currently working on the development of the custom digital book store application/service, which will be integrated in popular e-readers such as Amazon Kindle,” said Giorgi Shamugia, the head of Singular Group Georgia.
“The service will be developed and operated by Singular Group LLC and books will be provided by the “Book Store” LTD. Currently the project is in its research phase.”
“The main reason for developing such a kind of service is that payment methods offered by Amazon and other international online book stores is not well applicable for Georgia. Apart from that none of the e-readers currently available on the market, support Georgian Unicode fonts. As a result it is impossible to read e-books written in Georgian Unicode on e-readers.”
Shamugia says books will be available in ePub (developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated) format, which is standard for e-books.
“International books are already provided in the ePub format by our international partners (Pearson, Wiley, SAGE and Thompson). What I would say about Georgian books is that any publisher can convert their books into ePub quite easily using Adobe InDesign or any alternative software.”
“The publishing service of the books will be simple: the publisher shares their books on our web service; shared books will automatically be available for download on our Book Store application, which will be integrated in e-readers. After paying for it, any user can download the book of his/her choice.”
“Several payment methods will be available (most of them are already well adopted in Georgia),” Shamugia said.
Shamugia believes that e-readers and e-books are the future and have real potential.
“But for now the technology is just evolving, especially in Georgia and there is still much research and work to be done. At some point in the future, it will compete with traditional books and print media for sure. All of this will be known early in the autumn once the negotiations with e-reader providers are over.”
“Apart from those latest developments in e-reader technologies and Georgia’s prospect in that realm, electronic libraries have long been present in Georgia and are quite a popular source for Georgian students and lecturers too. For instance Ilia State University developed an electric library in 2009 and represents the university library which comprises the different materials (PDF, Audio, Video, scientific, lecture courses).”
“We pay attention to protecting all copyright rights,” said David Kiziria, Deputy Director in the direction of technologies at Ilia State University.
“Our library can also be accessed outside of the university area and is frequently used not only by students but also strangers. Currently because of the lack of e-readers in the country, printed versions of books are more popular then electronic PDF downloads. The books that are free mainly make up the university curriculum, also fiction. Our library is the first to offers digital format based services like multimedia resources and an integrated library system. And we also plan to develop the electronic portal of our library and offer new resources soon.”
International Black Sea University is also effectively using its online library resources as it has a special agreement with Oxfordjournals, Cambridgejournals, maintained in a partnership with EBSCO. IBSU paid 1,500 GEL to have free online resources from the abovementioned journals that are available only within the university’s grounds.
On average 200-300 students use the library in terms of reading books of different foreign/Georgian publications. Online resources are also used by university students for conducting research and for supplementary materials.
Electronic book libraries are also commonly used by students/others, like lib.ge. As Mr. Giorgi Kekelidze, chief editor at lib.ge, says, the number of online book users has dramatically increased over the last two years. According to top.ge the web-site is visited 4,414 times daily and has more than 5,000 hits while two years ago the number of visitors never exceeded 800. As for novelties, we are going to add multimedia resources that will twice increase the demand for online materials. There are also around 200 PDF downloads a day.
“Innovations are also been adopted by Free University of Tbilisi, as all of the students are equipped with personal computers, the university has decided to develop electronic books for their students so that they’ll be able to have them put in their computers to use,” said Ana Kvanchilashvili.