I tried to stay away from ebooks again, in this edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads (I managed to do so last week), but the threads of announcements and conversations are too crucial to ignore. Just yesterday Amazon and OverDrive announced plans to lend library ebooks to Kindle users. The press release and subsequent discussion is full of ambiguity and missing details, but what was officially said is enough to be tantalizing. And why not? The Association of American Publishers said that ebooks are the leading format among all trade categories in the month of Febrary. At least by sales volume, not by total revenue. The last thread this week is how recommendation engines are finding their way into another corner of the lives of undergraduates — helping you pick your course schedule.
Last week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads theme of ebooks continues again this week, and the top story from last week is the top story again this week: the debate over the limited checkout ebooks terms set by HarperCollins. While there seems to be nothing new from either HarperCollins or OverDrive (except for the new license terms coming into effect on Monday the 7th), there is still a lot of discussion on the biblio-blogosphere about what should be done. Another entry this week focuses on the Digital Public Library of America effort that is now getting underway. The last entry is about a young fiction writer who is making a fortune by selling ebooks through Amazon/Kindle and keeping most of the profit.
It is an all e-books edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads this week. The biggest news was the announcement of the policy change by HarperCollins for ebooks distributed through OverDrive. Beyond that, though, was an announcement of a new sharing model and program through the Internet Archive. Lastly is a slidecast recording of a presentation by David Lewis on the future of library collections.
O’Reilly Media — my favorite technology publisher — is offering a contest in which they are giving away $500 worth of books from their catalog. To enter, one must post a public wish list to books, e-books, and videos from the O’Reilly catalog and send the URL to O’Reilly using a web form. As long as the total of all the items on your wish list is less that $500, you’re entered. The deadline is 11:59pm PST on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, and the sweepstakes is limited to U.S. residents only.
This week Amazon takes center stage of DLTJ Thursday Threads with a report of their new Kindle Singles program for medium-form digital content and a screen-reader-aware version of the Kindle reader application for PCs. After that is a look at how scholarly discourse is changing — radically! — with the availability and use of near-real-time feedback loops. And we close out with a peek at shaky ground in the world of ISBN identifiers.
The turn of the year brings commentary on the past 12 months and thoughts on the future. This edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads looks at the relationship between libraries and electronic books with an offer by Sony to explain e-reader hardware to libraries and an opinion piece that libraries need to get their act together on the adoption of e-books. Then there is a look forward at possible trends for the new year; I try to pick out the ones that I think will have an impact on libraries. One trend that does seem to be emerging is the migration of libraries from proprietary software to open source software for their integrated library systems. Lastly, we’ll wrap up with a look at Public Domain Day.
The highlights of the past week are around publishing — first with a model proposed by Eric Hellman in which consumers can pool enough money to pay publishers to “set a book free” under a Creative Commons license, then with an announcement by the University of Pittsburgh offering free hosting of open access e-journals. Since we have to be able to describe and find this content, their bibliographic descriptions are important; John Wilkin proposes a model for open access to elements of bibliographic descriptions. Rounding out this week’s topics are a report of a master’s degree program in business using Facebook, and tips for planning an unconference meeting.
It has been a long week, so for many of you this edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads will actually be read on Friday. The spirit was willing, the topics were certainly out there in the past seven days, but the necessary distractions were numerous. Please enjoy this edition whenever you read it. As always, there is lots more on my FriendFeed aggregation page.
Google Refine 2.0, a power tool for data wranglers
A popular topic coming across my radar screen is the future of reading, and more specifically the role of libraries in the future of reading. Much of commentary seems to have been inspired by the announcement of the Apple iPad device, but it isn’t necessarily limited to that. Here are three exemplars, in no particular order, followed by some of my own comments.
Joshua Kim, senior learning technologist and an adjunct in sociology at Dartmouth College, posted a commentary called Popular Nonfiction, Academic Libraries, and Audiobooks at Inside Higher Ed. Joshua does an interesting comparison of the availability of “popular nonfiction” in paper and audio book format. He took his list of 197 audiobooks from Audible and cross-referenced them with availability of paper copies in his academic library. To his delight, he found that the library had paper copies of nearly three-quarters of them. It was his second question, though, that got me thinking: “Should academic libraries supply borrowers with the book format that matches their preferences and learning styles (paper, e-paper, or audio)?”
Wired magazine published a brief story and online photo gallery of the book scanning and print-on-demand projects at the Internet Archive. It is a fascinating glimpse into their vision and processes. Included below are cropped thumbnails and part of the text captions that accompanied the pictures in the Wired online gallery.