In episode 1 of The Virtual Revolution, Dr. Aleks Krotoski meets some of the biggest names of the web, including Jimmy Wales, Arianna Huffington, YouTube CEO Chad Hurley, and the inventor of the web himself, Tim Berners Lee. Watch original uncut interviews with them and others.
“If each book is a part of a person, then we could as easily imagine rows of frontal lobotomies and tennis shoes, each unique in its composition. And if books are like people, than we can imagine a city full of books with various covers and contents, waiting to be read. Some you won’t like, and some won’t like you. But most are filled with stories of real life.”—The Book of Life « Awkwardly Assembled
EBSCO is about to be the exclusive full text content provider for a whole lot of popular magazines. Apparently the Major Magazines got together late last year and put out an RFP to the aggregators. The Major Magazines felt that they were losing subscribers because public library patrons were able to access their content w/o paying directly for a subscription, and the RFP suggested if the aggregators weren’t willing to pay a lot more for their content, they were going to pull it all. EBSCO stepped forward and won all the bids, at great cost. This means that in the very near future the only place you’ll be able to get the full text of the following publications (just a partial list from the pix I took of the slides) will be through EBSCO databases: * Time * History Today * People * Sports Illustrated * US News and World Report * Entrepreneur * Forbes * Fortune * Harvard Business Review * Kiplinger’s Personal Finance * Money * Science * New Scientist
“Books ought to be so cheap that we can throw them away if we do not like them, or give them away if we do. Moreover, it is absurd to print every book as if it were fated to last a hundred years. The life of the average book is perhaps three months. Why not face this fact? Why not print the first edition on some perishable material which would crumble to a little heap of perfectly clean dust in about six months time? If a second edition were needed, this could be printed on good paper and well bound. Thus by far the greater number of books would die a natural death in three months or so. No space would be wasted and no dirt would be collected.”—Julia Felsenthal q. Virginia Woolf - Books that Die a Natural Death: The Book Bench : The New Yorker
Despite all our justifications, the smart phone market completely destroyed the PDA market, because nobody wanted to carry two gadgets, and because the convenience of having it all in one device was just too compelling to forgo and because the cell phones came to do all the tasks PDAs could do, plus a lot more.
This is exactly what’s happening with eBook readers. The eBook reader fans — and I count myself among them — will come up with a lot of great reasons why dedicated eBooks are here to stay. But that won’t stop them from being washed away by the coming touch-tablet tidal wave.
“Today I picked up a paper book to read just for fun — The Happiest Days of Our Lives by Wil Wheaton. Long-time (since this spring!) Kindle user that I am, I immediately noticed the dashing use of color on its front cover, but when I opened it, I was disappointed that I couldn’t scale the font size down from the default. It seems that paper books have only one font option — what are all these Kindle forum posters complaining about with its six sizes of a single font?”—John Goerzen - Review: Those new-fangled paper books | The Changelog
“I suspect that just about everyone who grows up to be an egghead meets at some crucial point in his youth an older person who makes him feel as though it’s all right to take an interest in intellectual pursuits. For me, that person was Frederick W. Huff, the librarian of the high school in the small Missouri town where I grew up.”—Terry Teachout - About Last Night: Frederick W. Huff, R.I.P.
“We suffer from a major image problem, and it’s putting the profession at risk. Budgets are being slashed at state and local levels across the country. Businesses are outsourcing their info-gathering needs instead of keeping a librarian on staff. The state of California implemented massive furloughs across the board, affecting public and university libraries alike. Many other libraries are cutting hours, laying off staff, and raising the question of closing altogether. Throughout it all, we are chided for wasting taxpayer money, because all we supposedly do is shelve books and tell people to keep quiet.”—Toby Greenwalt: To Know the Library Is To Love the Library — But Who Knows the Library?
“To say that libraries are irrelevant is a statement about the individual perception but not the greater societal whole. What is more important in such a statement is that raises the issue of how general apathy and indifference for the financial fate of the library really harms cogent funding arguments. The “everything on the internet” perception is easy to handle and is relatively innocent; the real dangerous perception is “I don’t use the library so I don’t see how losing it would affect me”. There is no recognition that this person receives a second hand benefit from the library from the people in the community who do use it; there is a disconnect from the notion that the improvement of the individual is an improvement of the greater whole.”—The actual future of the library « Agnostic, Maybe
This is an annual series initiated under the auspices of the Machine-Assisted Reference Section (MARS) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of ALA to recognize outstanding reference sites on the World Wide Web.
… genius as an author wasn’t enough. It needed an infrastructure of editors to recognize the genius, mold it and shape it into its best work. Then it needed an army of artists, typesetters and printers to shape it into a physical book. Then it needed a publicity and distribution network to bring the physical book to the audience.
As far as it goes, the argument has merit. Books are a team effort. Almost any work is improved by careful editing. The more attractively packaged and widely distributed, the more likely a book is to end up on someone’s bedside table.
But there are some serious flaws, too. The traditional system makes the author — the creator — almost a bit player in the process, with the publishing house winning the lion’s share of the profits to help support its big, expensive infrastructure. Since each book is an investment, the primary concern has to be commercial viability. This shuts any number of talented unknowns out of the system, particularly in the nonfiction categories. Meanwhile, the price of physical books has increased to the point where a lot of readers have also been shut out of the system.