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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November, 2003, 18:06 GMT
British Library in Amazon deal
British Library
The library aims to make 100,000 works available online by 2004
The British Library and online retailer Amazon are helping the public to source and buy rare antique books.

The library's catalogue of published works is now on the Amazon website, meaning it has details of more than 2.5m books on the site.

Some 1.7m of these books are pre-1970 volumes, not previously available.

Books added include obscure works like Ivor Herbert's 1967 book, The Queen Mother's Horses and the 1961 version of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind.

Third party vendors can only sell second-hand titles via Amazon if they are listed on the site.

Obscure titles

Until now, Amazon has only sold books with an ISBN - an International Standard Book Number.

The ISBN catalogue system was introduced in the 1970s, meaning no books prior to that date were listed on the website.

The British Library's extensive bibliographic records provides detailed information on each title, including publisher and publication date.

Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in the classic film
Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind was first printed in 1936

"Amazon aims to be the place where you can find and discover anything you want to buy online," said Greg Hart, director of Amazon's media products.

"Our alliance with the British Library is a clear demonstration of this strategy."

However the British Library stressed it was only the catalogue records that would be made available, not the archived collection.

"It's geared towards people in the antiquarian and second-hand book trade to assist those customers who have requests for older book titles," a spokesman said.

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