Ebook reading in libraries

Millard F. Johnson wrote on the future of ebooks in libraries:


This is my \"blue sky\" vision. First remember things change quickly -- so
all answers are right if you specify the date correctly, and all answers
are wrong at any other date.

But, I think you will see the same pattern for Ebooks that we have
witnessed with electronic databases and full text of journal articles.
First: libraries will insist on \"owning\" books and owning them for ever
with one payment.
Next: libraries will agree to license whole sets of books for a given time
period.
Later: libraries will not own or license Ebooks but will have the catalog
of all Ebooks and will pay per use.
Finally: there is no finally

As for the reading media: That is changing rapidly too. Despite all of
the
hoo haw about Gutenberg books, I have asked a lot of people this question
and no one who is not involved in the project has ever told me that they
read one (cover-to-cover) from a desk-top CRT. Palm devices, Ebook
readers
and mini-laptops seem to be merging in size and functionality. But, I
will
tell you what I would like to see: a dedicated library ebook reader. This
does not need a pager or a cell phone capability; you don\'t need to
download
MP3\'s and you don\'t need to keep your calendar on it. It has to be built
like a tank, cheap and optimized for reading text.


Let me now give away an Idea I was thinking might make me famous:
My library (the Hussey-Mayfield library, Zionsville, Indiana) sends me 5
minutes of reading every day - but they only give two chapters. If I like
the book, I can reserve it from the library. Great idea, but you can see
the limitations.


How about this:
A national consortia of consortia of libraries starts an Ebook reading
club. We select various books in different genre for the NATIONAL LIBRARY
BOOK CLUB (NLBC). We serve a bit of these on the Internet to all of our
patrons. The text is held at OCLC where all of the rights management and
accounting takes place. If someone wants the book, they go to their
library
and pick up one of our Ebook readers with the current (NLBC) book loaded
on
it. Because we distribute millions of reads, any book we select will
instantly be a huge, huge best-seller. But, because the
publisher/copyright
owner does not have to print any, and because we have such large
purchasing
power, we can negotiate very low costs - I am think something like $.25
per
use or even less. Our cost is low because there is nothing to check out,
shelve. No PO\'s or disposal, etc. And our patrons get the latest best
seller with no wait.


What do you think?

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