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Old 10-23-2006, 07:43 PM   #14
NatCh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radleyp
Consider this: a friend of mine who is a V-P at New York Public Library told me that Sony will not deal with the company that provides ebooks to NYPL
Yeah, they're only dealing with publishers right now, as far as I know. Which seems a reasonable approach since it is not their goal to digitize existing libraries (such as the NYPL), but rather to provide a successful electronic reading platform. Having the Library holdings available electronically would be a boon, but it's the least bang for the buck towards their actual goal.

Just out of curiousity what does this company that supplies NYPL want to work with Sony on? Since you specify that it is a single company (as opposed to the collective publishers/authors of the books under discussion), I can only conclude that it's some sort of distribution conduit. Why would Sony want to work with a distribution conduit company? That'd be like trying to work with UPS, 'cause it ships books to Borders.

Unless the company wants to buy e-books from Sony for distribution the libraries it serves, I don't see what they'd have to talk about. That would probably not be something that Sony would have the rights to do (I can't see the pub's letting them at the moment), so they couldn't even talk about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by radleyp
the result being that NYPL ebooks will not be available for the Sony reader.
That is, to a large degree, up to the library. If they decided to acquire books in a format that would work on the Reader, then their holdings would be readable on the Reader.

Of course, they'd have to have the rights to do so -- it may be that nobody spends much effort going after Joe Blow scanning & OCRing his books in the garage, but you can bet they'd go after something as big as NYPL if they did the same without crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's.

In any case, there are a number of libraries that do offer (at least some of) their books electronically, so apparently it can be done.

(and igorsk may figure out how to run other reading apps on the Reader for us, and then who knows what formats we'd be able to read? )

Quote:
Originally Posted by radleyp
Such stories will be repeated over and over. Certain books will be readable only on particular devices, and certain books will not be available at all in e-form for copyright reasons. I don't see these problems being resolved anytime soon, and hence continue to be sceptical about the success of the Sony and other ereaders.
The tower of e-babel has been a mess for a long time, and you've got your finger on the real sore here: the need for a standard e-book format (that's a discussion I won't go into here and now, ). The only difference now is that there seems to be some actual interest in developing a standardized format. I don't think it'll happen tomorrow, nor perhaps next year (or the next, or ...), but I think it will eventually happen, and that alone will change the whole game.

Remember, 20 years ago, the whole idea of e-books at all was greeted with the same sort of skepticism you're expressing now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by radleyp
BTW, a lot of library material, especially old journals and newspapers, cannot be scanned owing to their awful condition, or can be scanned only at tremendous cost.
True, a whole bunch of older material wouldn't stand up to scanning, but it's a bit more doable using a digital camera type approach. That same material, however, is in danger of simply disintigrating, and no longer being usable at all (my wife's PhD work brings her into contact with a lot of old texts, and once in a while one will just fall apart no matter how carefully it's handled). Something needs to be done to salvage the contents of such material before simple entropy moves it completely beyond recovery.

Last edited by NatCh; 10-23-2006 at 07:48 PM.
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