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.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Libraries: Crowdfunding our asses off.

Somebody always wants libraries to be different and they often try to scare us into changing what we do: "Libraries had no competition for most of our history. "

WE STILL HAVE NO COMPETITION.  Name one other source that takes a little bit of money from lots of people to offer a service like we do.  Parks? No.  I haven't been able to take a tree home for a month and then return it.  You can probably check out a basketball for an hour, but you can't take it to bed with you.  Or maybe you can, but I don't know what that's called.

Public Libraries are such a unique idea, that BUSINESSES ARE CONTINUALLY TRYING TO COPY US.  But for much more money than libraries collect.  Your cable company want $100 a month and so does your phone company.  Your streaming video company want $8 to $15 a month.  And the only advantage they have over libraries is a better delivery system.

But libraries provide crowdfunded wireless internet access.  And crowdfunded movies and music and reading. And so long as you are within our wireless distribution range, you get all that pretty damn fast.

We also offer free delivery with no minimum order.  You can get 1 or 50 items shipped throughout our lending area and delivered to locations near you.

The only way I see that libraries have competition is for your free time.  And in that way, yes, libraries are in trouble.  Because you are all lazy bastards.  You're willing to pay to have everything sent to you which is something libraries can't do.  Not for what you pay us, anyway.  Sure, we could make it easier, one-clickier, to get content to your phone or tablet while you eat your lunch while you're on the toilet.  Because you're so busy.  Not working.  From where do you get your money, anyway?

You don't have to believe me, but one day you will live in a world of panem et circenses and you will be happy.  Your phone will link to your Facebook account and for every poll or game you forward to a friend or everything you like or tag, or each new piece of private information you update will earn Facebook credits and that will be your job.  Because Facebook needs you now, more than ever, in order to keep their stock from slipping down the crapper.  And then you'll use your Facebook credits with the Facebook partners like McDonald's or Netflix and that's how you will get food and good times.  And you won't need a traditional job any more.  Well, traditional jobs won't exist, anyway.

So stop scaring the librarians.  They're already scared enough.  With all the kids drinking the hand sanitizer, there's hardly enough left to kill all the germs.