The Evil Side of eBooks – Piracy

The NYT had a very interesting article yesterday on the book piracy.  It highlights the increasing amount of illegal sites to download pirated eBooks, or print books that were scanned.  Publishers are spending much more staff time and hiring large legal departments to track down sites.  Here’s a quote from the article:  “It’s a game of Whac-a-Mole,” said Russell Davis, an author and president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, a trade association that helps authors pursue digital pirates. “You knock one down and five more spring up.”

I sometimes see posts on a variety of library distribution lists about finding reference titles online for free, and it makes them quite mad that they’ve just paid hundreds of dollars for the same book, either in print or e.  Maybe the publishers should give these angry librarians the Whac-a-Mole paddles and let us track down those pirates 😉  21st Century shushing at it’s best.

NY Times Reader – Brilliant

The NY Times released it’s 2.0 Reader today, powered by Adobe Air.   The basics:

  • works on Windows, MAC, linux
  • updates every 5 minutes
  • stories run in multiple sections of the paper
  • news feed for breaking news
  • read off-line
  • 7 day archive
  • even has the crossword
  • all for $3.95 a week

This short flash clip highlights the reader –Long Live the Newspaper!

NY Times article explaining the Reader.

Chronicle discusses Kindle and Textbooks

The Chronicle of Higher Education featured an article on the Kindle and use of it for textbooks.  Two interesting points were made.  First, many students already carry around a device that can read eBooks, their laptops.  Second, publishers want to end the used textbook market, which cuts off their profits.  By making textbooks in eBook form with licensing limiting resale, they capture the market again…..at least until students figure out a way to share them!

Kindle DX – Text to Speech

An abledbody news article last week discusses the new Kindle DX and it’s text-to-speech program that will read a book aloud.  According to the abledbody article, the Kindle does not go far enough to provide an accessible player to persons with disabilities.  The eBook menus and controls are not audio accessible, limiting access to those with visual disabilities.   I’m not certain Kindle had persons with disabilities in mind when they created this new text-to-speech feature since it is not limited to those with disabilities. Kindle will work with Pearson, Cengage Learning, Wiley and 75 other University Presses to provide textbooks on the Kindle this year.  Additionally, 3 newspapers have given Amazon the rights to text-to-speech content, NYT, Washington Post, and the Boston Globe.  Sounds to me like the much broader market, with a potential to listen to books in the car, while walking, doing housework, or any other multitude of activities is what got Amazon tickled pink about text-to-speech.  Just in case you didn’t hear, Kindle will begin a text book pilot program with 6 Universities this fall.

ePub vs. DRM: The Great Debate

A great debate between ePub and DRM is going on between Paul Biba and David Rothman at Teleread.  They both have posts supporting their arguments.  NSR will interview Paul Biba next week, so stayed tuned for more on this exciting discussion. Continue reading ePub vs. DRM: The Great Debate

Case Western Students will use Kindle for Textbooks

CWRU Chemistry and Computer Science students will use the new Kindle to access textbooks in Fall ’09.   See the full article in either the Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 6, 2009 or The WSJ, May 5, 2009. Amazon has worked a deal with publishers to load the textbook content on the Kindle, which will be “supplied” to students.  Nothing in the articles about costs…

The other universities are:  Pace, Princeton, Reed, Darden School at the University of Virginia, and Arizona State.

Google Book Search Settlement

Posting on behalf of Peter Murray, OhioLINK, full post at:  http://dltj.org/article/gbs-summary/

Today was to be the deadline for objecting to, opting out of, and/or filing briefs with the court on the Google Book Search Settlement. That was the plan, at least, when the preliminary approval statement from the court was issued last year. That deadline changed, and that is part of a recent flurry of activity surrounding the proposed Settlement. In honor of the original deadline, this e-mail provides a summary of recent news and an index of documents that you might want to read for more information. Continue reading Google Book Search Settlement

Gale Offers Free Access to Health & Wellness Resource Center

Farmington Hills, Mich., May 5, 2009 – In support of National Women’s Health Week, Gale, part of Cengage Learning, is providing one month’s free access to Health & Wellness Resource Center, an electronic resource providing a comprehensive array of medical reference and periodical materials. To obtain access to the resource center, libraries can download a specialized widget throughout the month of May at http://access.gale.com/widgets/whm. Continue reading Gale Offers Free Access to Health & Wellness Resource Center

The 2010 Outlook

What are the challenges and opportunities collection development librarians are faced with during these tight budget times as the nature of collections continue to evolve?  How can academic libraries maintain their purchasing power for collections when severe budget cuts are the norm at many academic institutions?  Can publishers and vendors be more flexible in their pricing models in order to assist libraries sustain purchasing for collections during this difficult budget time?

In January ICOLC warned publishers that academic libraries face impending budget cuts and asked them to develop alternative solutions to the dilemma. In February ARL issued a statement confirming that the situation is dire and must be taken seriously.

Since then it has been reported that several ARL Libraries face serious budget cuts.  Some publishers have responded by freezing prices for 2010.  How is your library coping with budget cuts?

Respond to this post with practical suggestions and solutions about what your library has done, or is planning to do, to weather this recession.  Feel free to communicate with publishers and vendors with price freeze suggestions as well.

A blog discussing the news and issues surrounding eBooks, for librarians and publishers.