Wednesday, May 30, 2012

eBooks: How Libraries Got It Wrong

I just saw this:

"The staff at the Douglas County Libraries in Colorado have been implementing for the past year an innovative ebook lending model that gives the library actual ownership of the ebook file, rather than leasing access to it via a third party. The library has its own content server and after striking deals with various publishers it loads the files onto the server and applies the requisite DRM before lending."

And the word that should be kicking you in the ass right now is innovative.

This lending model should never have been view as innovative; this should have been the model since the beginning.  Libraries should only have ever managed their own e-content on their own servers and distributed only the books from publishers willing to accept how we do things.

The fact that this is considered new, means libraries fucked up.

We should have started with this model even if it meant that we would NEVER have bestsellers for our patrons.  Because this model is like our print lending model: we own the materials.

But it's not too late for some of you.  And maybe not most of you.  There still might be money for you to begin a project like this where you host your own content.  And then you can reduce your budget for all that leased crap from the Big 6 that you don't own and can't control until a few years down the road, you'll have a good ebook lending model.  And this should be your goal.

Because what libraries are doing now, chasing bestsellers, and begging publishers to play fair, is just fucked up and makes us look like punks, pussies, wimps -- pick your least or most offensive moniker.   Because I'm just trying to get your attention.

And librarians have too much money and knowledge and talent and innovation to not be finding new solutions to this problem.  And I'm glad Douglas County is sharing theirs.

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