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Old 10-23-2006, 09:37 PM   #16
NatCh
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[QUOTE=Bob Russell]I wonder if radleyp was talking about overdrive or netlibrary or one of those library rental e-books providers./QUOTE]Ah, that would make sense ... except ... I'm not sure how that would fit as an example supporting the premise that e-books won't catch on ....

Okay, now I'm confused.
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Old 10-24-2006, 10:33 AM   #17
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So am I, as my point, which you got, was that multiplicity of formats and devices means trouble for the ereader. Readers will simply not buy multiple devices, and until there is a standard no one device will do. The library situation simply adds to the problem. I have already downloaded and read two NYPL ebooks (even one audio book) in Mobipocket (NYPL provides two formats, the other being the truly awful Adobe). This is a great way to "go" to the library, but it will be impossible with the Sony
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Old 10-24-2006, 11:16 AM   #18
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I see now. Yep, it's the number one problem holding back e-book adoption in my mind. It's what David Rothman has dubbed the "Tower of e-Babel". It's a nightmare!

But I think it might be a bit much to expect Sony to fix all that. Fortunately, they at least support .txt and .rtf and non-DRM .pdf, so we at least have some options for content. Getting Sony to support other commercial formats of competitors would be nice, but sounds to me like a tough sell to Sony executives if they are serious about their own e-book sales at Connect. Kind of like trying to get Amazon to support Sony's BBeB and DRM is probably just not going to happen... I think they are already down to MobiPocket only.

It's definitely a black eye for the e-publishing industry and a real pain in the neck for consumers.
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Old 10-24-2006, 11:58 AM   #19
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Ah, now I'm with you, radleyp.

Does Mobi have a Linux version? The way igorsk is going , he may figure out how to load other reading apps by Thanksgiving, and then we'd be cooking with gas!
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Old 10-26-2006, 12:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell
I don't think it's likely that libraries are going away completely anytime soon, but over the decades, I think we will see them evolve into something different.
I agree with this. I love going to the library. I like browsing around, looking at books that I might not bother with if I felt I had to buy them (I feel at least a little bit this way at book stores). I like being surrounded by other people who care about books. I like being able to discuss books (and other things) with the library staff, whom I tend to get to know fairly well. I like running into other people I know and finding out what books they're looking for. I like being involved in early literacy programs in the children's room, and adult literacy programs in the main library. I like the exhibits of non-book community material the library sets up each month.

Here's an example of a recent library interaction that I had. I was talking to a reference librarian about books on game design that I was hoping to get through interlibrary loan, and I commented on the polymer clay necklace she was wearing, because I also work with polymer clay. We discussed related projects, I mentioned that I'm also working on an action figure kit for kids (using flexible polymer clay), and she pointed me to a new article in a magazine I'd never read before, on that very subject. The article turned out to be very helpful for my project. Yes, I've had discussions like this online, but note that this one was started by my visual observation of my conversation partner, and my personal familiarity with her letting me feel free to discuss some jewelry she was wearing. It had nothing (or at least little) to do with what I had originally gone to the reference desk to ask about. There are chance moments that are still hard to duplicate online.

Libraries are an important community space. They are like schools, but come-as-you-can, for all ages. It may be that someday most libraries won't have many paper books, but the community function will still need to be served. I think libraries and other physical, local community spaces are to online community spaces (like MobileRead) as pBooks are to eBooks -- complementary. Cory Doctorow has a really nice discussion of this in his online essay. The virtue of the electronic editions does not remove the need for the physical versions. The popularity of services like Meetup, at the same time that online communities have seen explosive growth, underscores this.

Just my 2 jiao....
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