Net Library -Nyet


Thomas J. Hennen Jr. writes:

Only those of a certain age argue about whether it was Pogo or the Alligator that said: Younger demographic groups just look it up on the web. :-)

What a difference a few months can make in the looking glass world of e-texts! Five months ago, I lamenated that NetLibrary (tm) was marketing to gen-exers not boomers like myself. But now NetLibrary has cut off both exers as individuals and me at the virtual knees! And, it appears, librarians like myself must share the blame.

On 17 November 1999 I wrote: On my daughter\'s radio station a commercial is about,yes, a REALLY COOL web site - a library site no less! But it is not her Dad\'s library, no, its NETLIBRARY.COM. The commercial brags that you have thousands of the really best books to choose from and its almost as cool as MP3... And it is only $29.95. They were marketing NetLibrary to gen-exers and not boomers like me. See Unabashed Librarian #113 page 32, or:

Oh to be the demographic, again! I also noted in November that the FIRST time I tried to buy a membership in I got one of happier 404-not found messsges I have ever gotten. Shortly after I WAS able to buy a subscription, however. In fact, ironically, I used it to do research for the article on public library standards in the March 2000 issue of American Libraries. But within the year, I wll only be able to have this access IF my local public library subscribes to NetLibrary.

On 7 April 2000 I received notification from NetLibrary that reads in part: In response to feedback from our publishers, libraries, and members, netLibrary is changing the way we offer our eBook collection to consumers. Over the next couple of days, we will discontinue offering our annual Private Collection Membership. Instead, consumers may access netLibrary eBooks through their participating local public, academic, or corporate libraries, or they may purchase eBooks directly from the netLibrary web site. eBooks added to netLibrary\'s collection after March 31, 2000, may be accessed through a participating library or bypurchasing a personal copy directly from the netLibrary Web site. See:

We are planning a grant funded test of NetLibrary to begin this fall at the public library system that I administer, but I do not know of the plans for the library system in which I live.

In less than two years, NetLibray went from the germ of an idea to a multimillion dollar IPO. In less than 6 months it radically re-focused its markeing. What a roller coaster we are all on. As they say to those of us saying \"oh to be the demographic\" - be careful what you pray for, you just might get it! And, as Pogo might have said to the Alligator: \"Is this a great time to be a librarian - or what?\" \"