Posts Tagged ebooks
Well, I guess it’s understandable, since even the most basic bare-bones ebooks are a difficult and challenging commodity to provide. Wear and tear when the tubes get clogged and all.
I’m not a comic book person so I’m actually a bit slow to discover this. Starting this month–oops, technically last month– every issue in the Ultimate line will include a code to get a free digital copy of that issue. Please please please let this trend gain momentum. Is there even a good reason for it not to? It’s not as though manuscripts aren’t already being handled digitally these days at every step from initial submission through editing on to printing. The biggest potential difference between an ebook and a physical version is perhaps page layout (which affects page count), but since I know that that can be changed on the fly just by rotating my iPod touch (no dedicated ereader for me yet), it probably isn’t that big of a barrier.
This is what I want to see more of (though preferably for print books more than magazines, but either way it’s useful).
Whew, what a summer. In a previous post, I mentioned the policy paper I was working on with a couple classmates regarding how public libraries (our primary focus; we discuss academic libraries, as well, though) should deal with ebook issues. We sort of fizzled out on trying to professionally publish it (I think we’re all too preoccupied with job-hunting), so I figured I may as well post it here, at least.
The 2 minute PowerPoint presentation giving the most bare-bones highlights imaginable for those who don’t want to plow through our 28-page paper.
Listened to Jason Puckett’s webcast on DRM today thanks to Philip’s and my video entry for the ACRL contest way back when. How timely it wound up being, what with the Harper-Collins kerfuffle and all. Pretty much agreed with all his points and got a bit of a laugh when the presentation included an image breaking down the difficulty of navigating DRM-protected content that I had just shared with a friend last night while we discussed the issue.
Possibly only nitpick I had was that I know audio CDs haven’t been 100% free and open forever. I suppose technically, yes, because if I recall from the time of Sony rootkits and all that technically such restricted CDs shouldn’t have had the official logo on them since they did not conform with standards, but… I most certainly experienced an issue with a CD I got for my dad that had the fake table of contents track on it to prevent it from being played on computers but not stereos. Absolutely lame but also real and a corruption, if you will, of the medium.
On a different note, what the heck Google? I never have Firefox bug me about updates while it wasn’t running.
There was also a revealingly interesting suggestion on a Google search I ran the other day:
My Twitter account continues to earn its keep, as that’s how I’ve learned of the Harper-Collins – OverDrive outrage currently going on:
Next week, OverDrive will communicate a licensing change from a publisher that, while still operating under the one-copy/one-user model, will include a checkout limit for each eBook licensed. Under this publisher’s requirement, for every new eBook licensed, the library (and the OverDrive platform) will make the eBook available to one customer at a time until the total number of permitted checkouts is reached.
-via Atzblog, who also sums up the myriad problems thusly:
To be clear, this model eliminates almost all the major advantages of the item’s being digital, without restoring the permanence, durability, vendor-independence, technology-neutrality, portability, transferability, and ownership associated with the physical version.
I have some sympathy for Harper-Collins’ position (at least their point that ebooks don’t need to be replaced as physical books periodically do; and as someone on Twitter pointed out, at least they allow ebooks at all (1), but then again…not really. It’s up to them to develop a profit model for digital technologies without trying to artificially enforce the same rules of analog media. This is the music industry all over again. And the TV/movie industry. It was bad enough when the rule was 1 ebook = 1 physical book for circulation(2)!
Worse yet, 26 is the magic number for circulation, which
… was arrived at after considering a number of factors, including the average lifespan of a print book, and wear and tear on circulating copies.
-via Library Journal
A couple weeks ago I was hanging out in the WW2 section of Bird Library to pick up some books from my wish list. While I was perusing the shelves, I pulled out a book that had actually been published in the early 1940s. Instead of a copyright insert near the front of the book, there was a notice that the book had been produced in accordance with wartime regulations (smaller overall size, thinner pages). In the very front of the book was the old-school circulation data…as in, due dates stamped on the little card in the paper pocket affixed to the book. It was neat to try imagining the people who checked out this book (many times) in 1945 before the war ended, and then all the check-outs right after the war, and in the decade after that.
My point with that story is: how the hell did HC actually come up with 26 as an appropriate circulation number, because if a 66-year-old book, deliberately printed on thin paper, can still be in tip-top shape on my library’s shelves…. hooboy. Again from LJ,
If a lending period is two weeks, the 26 circulation limit is likely to equal roughly one year of use for a popular title. For a three-week lending period, that stretches to a year and a half.
How many physical books have to be replaced on a yearly basis? Serious question. I’m sure some do, but generally speaking? Is that a common lifespan for a library book?
1. I’m not really sure whether that’s better or worse than this hurlyburly.
2. Which was bad enough, let’s be honest. Another Twitter commenter pointed out acceptance of that practice as libraries not exactly having a good track record for defending patron use rights. But what options have libraries, generally, had? Like publishers, libraries have a/n (potentially) uncertain role in an increasingly digital world and each industry does what it can to keep up/preserve its place. For libraries–not exactly rolling in cash and influence– that may mean some compromise in usability and access to provide content in a relevant medium to their patrons. (And on the other hand, this is an example of libraries trying to adapt to stay relevant, whereas HC’s actions are a desperation act to keep increasingly obsolete/irrelevant practices.)
I came across this little update through AustenBlog of all places: while you are in a Barnes & Noble store, you can have free access to eBooks for an hour at a time.
A lot of the discussion around eBook readers in relation to librarianship and traditional book reading has involved the ability (or inability) to annotate and share, and the place of eBooks in libraries. In that light, this is an interestingly library-esque addition to the Nook capabilities that nonetheless falls short.
For one thing, I’d love to know who decided the 1 hour cut-off…it seems rather arbitrary, unless, perhaps, there’s research that shows fast readers can finish a novel in 2 hours and so a more limited amount of time was in order.
I also wonder what the distribution of books is between B&N stores and their eBook selection. Namely, I’m wondering what the point of this access is if you can only take advantage of it while sitting in the midst of shelves and shelves of books, any one of which a customer can curl up with in one of the armchairs for as long as it takes to finish reading it. This seems like a step in the right direction but still not enough. I don’t expect corporate bookstores to take on the public library function, but even just setting up unlimited access only in a B&N store would better parallel the access to physical books.