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Book 'Em

Bringing information to the library-weary, ebrary is set to appeal to the next generation of researchers.

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This story appears in the July 2001 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

Christopher Warnock's company may have been 10-plus years inthe making, but then maybe it's true that good things come tothose who wait. The idea to start ebrary Inc. came about in 1989following a not-so-pleasant trip to the library at the Universityof Utah in Salt Lake City, where Warnock was getting hisundergraduate degree. Looking for information on building abicycle, he had to search in three different places before he foundthe book he wanted-not to mention that half the card catalog was onthe computer, the other half was on cards in the filing cabinet,and all the older periodicals were on microfiche. After trips tothe third and fourth floors, he finally found the book he wanted inthe basement. As he picked it up, he thought: "Somewhere inhere is the information I need to know. Wouldn't it bewonderful if at some point all this information were accessible onthe computer?"

Now it's 2001, and Warnock's idea has come to fruition:Mountain View, California-based ebrary, which will provide software andservices for secure online access and delivery of copyrightedcontent, is set to go live within the next few weeks. Together withco-founder Kevin Sayar, 33, Warnock has formed partnerships with anumber of publishers, who stand to benefit from ebrary in terms ofprotecting their copyrighted material and furthering theirmarketing efforts via the Internet. "The reason publishers arewilling to go along with this is, if someone wants to copy text orprint pages from a document, we're able to charge them verysmall transaction [fees] for the convenience of doing [that],"says Warnock, 34. "And in this way, we enable the publisher torecoup revenues potentially lost in the photocopyingmarket."

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