Libraries

Go Read This | Japan’s National library joins digital wave, will offer books online –

Fascinating stuff this

Japan’s largest library will begin offering online access to selected books on Feb. 1, starting with 13 works that include some of the country’s most famous epics and folk tales and a novel written by one of its most acclaimed novelists.

The National Diet Library is trying out its new online delivery system, which was requested by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, with help from bookstore operator Kinokuniya Co. and the Dai Nippon Printing Co. group.

via National library joins digital wave, will offer books online – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.

Go Read This | It’s Here: A Library With Nary a Book – NYTimes.com

Fascinating piece by Ed Nowatka of Publishing Perspectives rom the NYTimes.com about the new digital library in Texas. I’m struck by the way that digital can, if we allow it to, reinvigorate libraries as well as make them so much cheaper to run and stock:

“We have maintained from the beginning that we are a digital library, not a bookless library,” said Ms. Eklof, who, like the rest of the staff, wore a sporty BiblioTech-branded polo shirt. Books or no books, she said, the goal is the same: to give residents access to information and research assistance.

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It is also economical. At a cost of $2.2 million to build, stock and staff, BiblioTech is a bargain compared with the downtown library being built in nearby Austin, which has a budget of more than $100 million. BiblioTech’s yearly operating costs are budgeted at $1.1 million. “Getting it going cost us a third less than the $3.7 million Bexar County contributes annually to the San Antonio public library system, which has 26 libraries,” Ms. Cole said.

via It’s Here: A Library With Nary a Book – NYTimes.com.

Go Read This | The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish

Interesting research:

But even this chart may understate the effects of copyright, since the comparison assumes that the same quantity of books has been published every decade. This is of course not the case: Increasing literacy coupled with technological efficiencies mean that far more titles are published per year in the 21st century than in the 19th. The exact number per year for the last 200 years is unknown, but Heald and his assistants were able to arrive at a pretty good approximation by relying on the number of titles available for each year in WorldCat, a library catalog that contains the complete listings of 72,000 libraries around the world. He then normalized his graph to the decade of the 1990s, which saw the greatest number of titles published. By this calculation, the effect of copyright appears extreme.

Heald says that the WorldCat research showed, for example, that there were eight times as many books published in the 1980s as in the 1880s, but there are roughly as many titles available on Amazon for the two decades. A book published during the presidency of Chester A. Arthur has a greater chance of being in print today than one published during the time of Reagan.

via The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish – Rebecca J. Rosen – The Atlantic.

Go Read This | Digital Lending, In Agreement | PWxyz

Awesome, in so many way:

This purchase is an example of the Smashwords Library Direct program, which allows libraries and library consortia to purchase large numbers of self-published titles in a streamlined and automated fashion using whatever selection criteria they see fit; additional large library consortia, such as California’s Califa, are expected to follow DCL’s suit. Smashwords permits its authors and publishers to set their own library prices using a web-based pricing tool; the majority of its participating authors have opted for library prices at below-market levels, reflecting the premium value they place on library exposure and promotion.

via Digital Lending, In Agreement | PWxyz.

A Kindle In Libraries Post

So, no doubt you’ve read this. You should if you haven’t but here’s the gist of it:

Amazon today announced Kindle Library Lending, a new feature launching later this year that will allow Kindle customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the United States. Kindle Library Lending will be available for all generations of Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps.

So much about this adds up to cool news for readers, even if in the medium to long-term it suggests that Amazon is getting a pretty monopolistic hold on the ebook market (something that might have been thought to be waning).

Mike Cane has an excellent post looking at the implications of it all here. He’s got some dynamite in there too.

4) Self-published writers in their right mind won’t give a damn about whether their book is available at the Sony Reader Store, Kobo Bookstore, or Barnes & Noble bookstore. They’re all just dead. While Kobo still has an international edge, as Amazon rolls out into other countries, they’ll just crush them.

5) No one cares what the hell the eBook format is. People just want to read. Only geeks care about whether the file format is Kindle or “universal” ePub (which isn’t universal since Barnes & Noble broke it!). ePub has now become a niche eBook format. The IDPF can take as long as they want with the ePub 3.0 spec. No one cares anymore. Except maybe Apple — who can now hijack the spec until they discard it.

Don’t read just self published authors there by the way. Think small independent publishers too when you see that.

A wise man or woman wouldn’t bet on this being the winning shot in the war for Libraries (though I have my doubts about their ability to survive the transition to digital distribution) but it sure gives Amazon a healthy advantage.

Mike’s a little keener then I am on the death of print, a technology I still have some affection for and suspect has greater reserves of use then is generally expected these days, though in a much less popular form than right now (except maybe for your mass, mass-market cheap titles!), but who knows, he could be right.

I’ll say this though, it is a stab in the heart of bookstores. Way to bring ebooks to the book loving crowds in an easy seductive fashion!

Beautiful April day!
Eoin

Go Read This | Catherine Cookson’s estate set to infuriate publishing houses by releasing 100 cut-price e-books | Mail Online

As if we needed more evidence this week that the old model is under severe pressure from new and competing models, it crops up from an unexpected source:

She sold more than 100million books and was for years the most-borrowed author in British libraries.

Now, more than 12 years after her death, Catherine Cookson, the best-selling author of The Fifteen Streets and the Mallen trilogy, is embroiled in a literary bust-up.

Her estate, the Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, is set to infuriate the print publishing industry by releasing 100 of her novels as cut-price electronic books.

via Catherine Cookson’s estate set to infuriate publishing houses by releasing 100 cut-price e-books | Mail Online.

Go Read This | The Digitized Book Corpus and the Cracking Dam « The Scholarly Kitchen

A must read, not just for the piece itself but the vigour of the comments below it!

The simple fact is that the romance of the printed book outlives the demonstrable usefulness of printed books in any particular discipline, and it dies very, very hard. To be clear: I’m not saying that printed books have outlived their usefulness, only that when they do outlive it, the romance lingers on.

via The Digitized Book Corpus and the Cracking Dam « The Scholarly Kitchen.