Sunday, December 04, 2005

NHB publishes the Singapore Encyclopaedia

Reported in The Straits Times (4 Dec 05):
The National Heritage Board (NHB) is preparing a Singapore Encyclopaedia to mark the 40th anniversary of independence this year.

It is calling the book a publishing landmark, which will be of 'international significance for Singapore'. Said a spokesman: 'The aim is to put together in one volume everything a reader wants to know about Singapore, from history to politics, from geography to religion, from art to popular culture, and from the famous to the infamous.'

Here's something about the publication that's worth noting:
It was also decided that Ms Annabel Chong, the Singaporean who made a name for herself by having sex with 251 men in 10 hours in 1995, will have her own entry.

The project's editorial advisory board hotly debated the issue...

... Opinions were sharply divided, but eventually a consensus was reached not to moralise, he said.

... 'We are not attempting to validate anyone or any action. A good reference work aims to be comprehensive, not prudish.'

Good decision.

The Singapore Encyclopaedia will only be sold from September 2006. I wonder if the publishers would provide an online version. If they do, I doubt if they will provide free access.

If it was a novel, providing an online version might improve sales. I, for one, would sample parts of the novel to see if it's worth buying, and then buy the book. But for a reference tool like an encyclopaedia, I'd already have obtained my answers online and there's little incentive for me to buy the printed copy.

What would be an acceptable business model that would make both the publishers and potential users happy?

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  1. it better have an entry on ;)

  2. The way wikipedia is growing w.r.t to Singapore related entries, I am sure soon this encyclopedia would be out of date.

  3. Thanks for the Word Of Mouth. I think the business model is certainly something that needs to be considered carefully.

  4. UPDATE: The encyclopedia was launched in Sept 2006. Details here.


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