Electronic Publications

It's Not About Libraries, It's About Amazon

It's Not About Libraries, It's About Amazon

The Penguin move should be seen not as corporate verdict on libraries, but as a reaction to Amazon's entry into the library market. When Overdrive was distributing content to libraries on their own platform, the publishers were able to view Overdrive, and libraries in general, as a counterweight to Amazon. But the extension of Overdrive lending to the Kindle flipped libraries into the Amazon column. That's the best way to understand the Penguin decision, though you won't see them saying that.

Demographic Rambling

Four years of podcasting with LISNews.org has been interesting. The statistics make things even more interesting. Sadly, I do not have a complete set of data points. Those that I do have worry me.

Location is key. When it comes to covering the Library & Information Science world, our main focus is not geography but instead topical matters. Based upon what data I can derive from FeedBurner's limited statistics, we may cover the right topical matters but hit all the wrong areas of geographical coverage.

From the limited geographical data I have, the bulk of listeners to LISTen: An LISNews.org Program happen to be located in places like the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. US listenership actually comes in a bit lower than would be expected. This may also reflect regional preferences in how you subscribe to podcast content since the FeedBurner link is but one way to subscribe. We simply lack data for some means of subscribing to the podcast.

What can I do with having primarily a foreign audience while the content is primarily produced with a domestic US focus? Some changes in content focus may be necessary perhaps. The big problem with that is that we have virtually no budget and are tethered to the south shores of Lake Erie in a township called Ashtabula. We really do not have the assets in place to cover stories in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. Expansion of assets would otherwise be necessary and we do not have a way to do so quite just yet.

The fifth year of the program is now underway. I want to make changes this year. A big one would be to secure funding for shortwave distribution. With the lessons of this year in terms of how fragile the Internet is, having a backup is important. Considering how much of the listenership is located outside North America, such would be a viable backup that would also skirt around national blacklists and firewalls.

Getting the resources to cover foreign stories is an even harder thing than simply buying blocks of airtime with money we don't have. Foreign collaborators would be necessary. Without any way to compensate them it is kinda hard to recruit such people. Indigenous correspondents would allow for better coverage anyhow compared to trying to secure a travel budget and visa clearances for international travel. We could previously handle this sort of thing through judicious use of Skype but with as unreliable as Time Warner Cable has been locally we cannot go with that option.

These speed results help illuminate what we are paying USD$39.95 to get:

The easy part is knowing what you want to do. The hard part is finding the resources to bring such to fruition. The search for resources is the big challenge for year five, it seems.

Creative Commons License
Demographic Rambling by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info.

Alternative Paradigms of Access

Do you know how many ways you can keep up with LISNews outside the paradigm of a browser? There is an e-mail digest of posts you can subscribe to if you so choose. Thanks to the magic of Twitter and SMS short codes, you can get updates sent to your mobile device as text messages when new posts are made. You don't even need to be a registered user of Twitter to do this. To get updates on your phone, send the following to 40404: FOLLOW lisnews For readers outside the United States, a list of codes to send that command to can be found here. RSS can give you feeds in an appropriate reader. Plugging http://lisnews.org/rss.xml into your RSS reader will let you receive posts outside the browser. A variety of feed readers are available and we can recommend tools like liferea and newsbeuter. If you have a Kindle, you can also receive LISNews posts by way of the magic transport layer known as WhisperSync. Access via Amazon is available at a nominal cost. Nobody will see any revenue from that before the heat death of the universe. If clicking around in a browser isn't your favored starting point, other avenues do exist to try.

Google lawyers get more time for digital library

Google, lawyers get more time for digital library
Lawyers for authors, publishers and Google on Thursday bought themselves more time to reach a deal to create the world's largest digital library, telling a judge they were making progress in settlement talks but had agreed to proceed toward a trial of the 6-year-old copyright case on a slow track.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan approved a pretrial schedule that calls for written submissions and depositions that extend into next summer, but he made it clear that he would prefer a settlement and offered to help the parties in their talks if it might help. He called the amount of time in the schedule "generous but acceptable." No trial date was set.

One Library's Espresso Book Machine Experience

Our Espresso Book Machine Experience
"And almost two years later, I don’t regret it. However, in the spirit of “How We Done It Bad,” I want to share some of the lessons that we’ve learned from our experience so far.
Nothing is ever as good as it sounds.
Great concepts don’t print books; functional machines print books.
No matter how sexy the delivery mechanism, the content matters more.
You can’t predict what people will get excited about."

One Librarian's Opinion - eBooks? pBooks?

...the one librarian being Greg Hill, director of the Fairbanks (AK) North Star Borough libraries. Story from Newsminer.

FAIRBANKS - “E-reader ownership doubles in six months,” proclaimed the headline to a recent Pew Research news release. However, careful readers note that the 100 percent jump was because e-book ownership among U.S. adults increased from 6 percent to 12 percent. Ownership of tablet computers like iPads and Xooms, by comparison, increased in that time period by only 3 percent. The ongoing economic crisis may be dampening consumer purchasing of electronic devices, and print book publishing is still flourishing, but Pew’s articles and the ballyhoo surrounding e-books generally is causing consternation for many print-book lovers.

“Consternation” comes from the Latin stem word “consternare,” which meant “overcome, confuse, dismay, perplex, terrify, alarm.” Many librarians embrace the convenience of e-books; after all, reading’s reading, right? Maybe not. An article from 2008 titled “Not Quite Average: An Empirical Study of Web Use” found that “On the average, Web page users have time to read at most 28 percent of the words during an average visit; 20 percent is more likely.” Being connected to social media like Facebook and Twitter multiplies the stream of messages, notices and interruptions that constantly bombard the technorati, the technologically proficient, and make sustained reading online difficult.

Amazon to Launch Library Lending for Kindle Books

Amazon to Launch Library Lending for Kindle Books
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.

"We're excited that millions of Kindle customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from their local libraries," said Jay Marine, Director, Amazon Kindle. "Customers tell us they love Kindle for its Pearl e-ink display that is easy to read even in bright sunlight, up to a month of battery life, and Whispersync technology that synchronizes notes, highlights and last page read between their Kindle and free Kindle apps."

Project MUSE Editions and the University Press e-book Consortium (UPeC) Announce Merger

Project MUSE has been the go-to source for scholarly ejournals in academic libraries for years, and now that go-to source will soon include ebooks from the University Press e-book Consortium. The two recently <a href="http://muse.jhu.edu/about/new/ebook_collections.html">announced the merger</a>, which will launch on January 1, 2012.

Maybe Harper Collins Did Libraries a Favor

I wanted to write a railing piece about the new Harper Collins twenty-six checkout limit on ebooks, but Friday I had to finish a day of work and take my wife out for a date night before I could sit down to write.

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