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Old 09-06-2005, 06:40 PM   #1
Brian
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Illinois library to offer free ebooks, audiobooks with a catch

The Naperville Public Library, located in suburban Chicago, announced today the expansion of their 24/7 Digital Services. According to the press release, the expanded services which are available through the library's website, include the following new formats:

-- eAudiobooks -- unabridged books that may be enjoyed on PCs and hundreds of portable devices such as compatible MP3 players. They can also be burned to CD for use on any standard CD player, so you can listen to these downloadable books anywhere -- car, home, while exercising!

-- eBooks -- digital versions of print books that include all the pictures, text and graphics. They can be downloaded onto PCs, Macs, laptops, supported PDAs, and other portable devices. Titles include fiction, non-fiction, children's and adult popular fiction. Authors include Jonathan Kellerman, Catherine Coulter, Douglas Adams, the "Frommer's Guides" and "Nolo Press."


Currently, 343 eBook titles are offered in Adobe PDF format, and 45 titles are offered using the Mobipocket Reader format. The 362 eAudiobooks titles currently offered use the Windows-only DRM protected OverDrive Audio Book format. While the expansion of digital content in public libraries is a good thing, the use of proprietary or non-standard formats is not.
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Old 09-06-2005, 07:38 PM   #2
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Can be burnt onto a CD and used in a standard player doesnt sound like it is locked up too tight. I assume unless you have to burn it with DRM, then you can probably burn it and rip it.

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Old 09-06-2005, 07:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered
Can be burnt onto a CD and used in a standard player doesnt sound like it is locked up too tight. I assume unless you have to burn it with DRM, then you can probably burn it and rip it.

JJF01
While that may be a work-around for some, what about the taxpayers in Naperville who don't use Windows?

I don't think that a public library should be embracing proprietary and DRM restricted formats when more "democratizing" formats are available.

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Old 09-06-2005, 08:50 PM   #4
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While I agree with you, I think the fact of the matter is that most public libraries aren't sophisticated enough to know the difference. They are doing, I believe, what they believe will reach the widest audience with their limited budgets... The most bang for their buck.

My knowledge of ebook formats is somewhat limited, but I'm not aware of too many formats that are library-friendly. I know that the Adobe format, which I personally hate (too bulky, too slow), is convenient for libraries in that it supports lending periods. I'm not sure that Microsoft's format (proprietary, I realize) supports that at all. This obviously is a huge consideration.
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