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Old 10-10-2008, 08:46 AM   #1
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The library in the next century.

Often when reading posts on mobileread.com I wonder how the library can survive in the next century. That is, if electronics will wash away our right to borrow books for free from our local library or if they don't.

How will the library of the future look like?

Will it be a place, where I can "borrow" files, and some technology magic will hinder me to copy it to be used for an extended time period if not "bought"? Can such technique really exist resisting all possible kinds of hacking it?

Will it be a place where I can go to, to view electronic books on the devices there? And forfeit our rights to borrow "books"?

Will copyright which bases on actually *selling* books beyond the use in a library fail in the long run and have to be replaced by other social organization and remunerations inventions?

Or albeit all developments on the eInk front paper still dominate the next century as it did the last millennium? So the other questions don't arise.

I for one think it are not only authors and publishers which have to be aware of the future, but also consuments. Since there is not only to gain for us here. If we are not careful, our longtime established right to borrow books for almost free at a place called "public library" might also be washed away by an unfortunate path of change.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:41 AM   #2
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Some libraries have started to go electronic using standard DRM formats (tied to your registered PID) and expiration dates. Because of the convenience, I find myself using the library again for the first time in over a decade (and loving it!)
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:48 AM   #3
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Some of it depends on what you consider a library. Do we not have a "Library" here? Along with P.G., Baen, et al.? Think of how many P.G. Torrent downloads that have been done of the entire P.G. content. And I have more books I need to add. (Soon. I'll start working soon. The book on the Second Powell expedition to the Grand Canyon keeps looking at me wistfully....)
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:25 AM   #4
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Paper will rule for a long time.

No technologies will stop crackers. Until the AI of their computer takes control, preventing them from type, scan, copy-paste, dictate protected sentences.

Copyright will be reformed: it will be eternal, retroactively.
PG will be deleted, and possession of their files will be punished.

Library won't be free (AFAIK, in some countries there's a subscription fee already).
But they will exist.

Electronic and paper books will be borrowed. But nobody will be looking for them.

Eventually, libraries will disappear, just like the most of the bookstores we know.
Other media will replace writing.

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Old 10-10-2008, 10:38 AM   #5
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What is PG?

Also say a 10€/year subscription fee I still consider to be "free" in a wider sense.

Quote:
Electronic and paper books will be borrowed. But nobody will be looking for them.
Huh? Explain please
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:45 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Format C: View Post
Eventually, libraries will disappear, just like the most of the bookstores we know.
Depends what sort of libraries you're talking about.

The great national libraries - The British Library, the Library of Congress, etc -are there primarily to be the custodians of the "literary treasures" of a nation, to preserve them for future generations, and to allow researchers access to them. That type of library certainly has a future, although there's now a clear trend of making the contents of such libraries available to anyone in the world via the Internet.

"Local" libraries from which you borrow books. Yes, these will disappear, I suspect.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:46 AM   #7
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What is PG?
Project Gutenberg. You have heard of them, I hope?
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by axel77 View Post
What is PG?

Also say a 10€/year subscription fee I still consider to be "free" in a wider sense.



Huh? Explain please
There won't be readers, in the long term.
The few of them (us?) in next century won't be enough to keep libraries and bookstores alive....
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:55 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Depends what sort of libraries you're talking about.

The great national libraries - The British Library, the Library of Congress, etc -are there primarily to be the custodians of the "literary treasures" of a nation, to preserve them for future generations, and to allow researchers access to them. That type of library certainly has a future, although there's now a clear trend of making the contents of such libraries available to anyone in the world via the Internet.

"Local" libraries from which you borrow books. Yes, these will disappear, I suspect.
I don't believe local libraries will disappear but I do think many more of them will need to have electronic checkout of eBooks and other advanced features. There is a wiki entry highlighting the libraries that already support this kind of thing. Libraries provide important features already such as computers available and they will have to adapt even more in the future. The direction is more clear than the opening statement in this thread would have you believe. Children's books are one area that is just starting to blossom in electronic form from Libraries, audio files and even video files are a part of the Library of the present in some forms and the library of the future.

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Old 10-10-2008, 02:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Project Gutenberg. You have heard of them, I hope?
Sure, just yet another abreviation confuses me

Quote:
The great national libraries - The British Library, the Library of Congress, etc -are there primarily to be the custodians of the "literary treasures" of a nation, to preserve them for future generations, and to allow researchers access to them. That type of library certainly has a future, although there's now a clear trend of making the contents of such libraries available to anyone in the world via the Internet.
Indeed I also don't think national libraries are in danger. At least the concept of nation itself might die first.

However the question remains, how shall this national libraries work in the digital age? How can this work together with copyright? Anybody will be able to just copy the "borrowed" pdf file, I also don't think that any digital protection will truely work.

Will we lose our right to borrow books from libraries?

BTW: I love for my next door national library (austria). And actually the austrian national library is a pure presence library, that is, there is no taking home in this library anyway. I guess this will likely hold true for other national libraries as well. However they have a hugh corner with copy machines, and you are allowed to make paper copies. I guess this actually doesn't hinder copyright much, since buying a book is usual cheaper than photocopying. You are allowed to take your notebook into the library, I just one day want to experiment what the concierges will say, if I take my flat bed scanner in the other

What will happen to our rights to look up books in the digital library of the future?

Last edited by axel77; 10-10-2008 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:29 AM   #11
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A question occurs to me for which I do not have an answer.

If we are successful in getting publishers to remove all DRM from their books, how will libraries loan DRMless books?

The only option I have would be for them to add DRM back onto the books.
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:25 PM   #12
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ok, we'll keep DRM for libraries and no DRm for purchased eBooks.
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Old 10-19-2008, 02:44 PM   #13
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ok, we'll keep DRM for libraries and no DRm for purchased eBooks.
I agree. DRM is an ideal system for loaning and renting. It could be useful not only for libraries but for a Netflix-style subscription system.
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Old 10-19-2008, 02:47 PM   #14
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I do hope that ebooks do not bring on the end of our public libraries. They might if communities and governments only look at a library as a building full of books. The real value in the library is the librarians and I think as flow and generation of new content increases, it's even more important to have people like librarians who help folks navigate it.
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:35 PM   #15
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The cynic in me -- which is large and in charge -- says that some folks who work in publishing see local libraries as extensions of the local thieves guild and would be quite happy to recoup the money they lose to the "borrowers."

Last edited by tcv; 10-19-2008 at 05:31 PM. Reason: better wording
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