Major disruptions in the book publishing business




Ebook readers like Amazon’s Kindle roiled the book publishing business. Big time. Ebooks now outsell printed books. We can carry one device with dozens of books, and it weighs less than any one of them would in print. Major bookstore chains went belly up. But ebooks are hardly the first major disruption in book publishing. The printing press only came along about 700 years ago. It eventually put an end to the scriptoriums that had produced manuscript books for centuries. Printing put books in the hands of more readers than the scriptoriums ever could, but books remained relatively expensive well … Continue reading






Libraries, ebooks, and the freedom to read




Libraries have long championed its patrons’ right to privacy. The American Library Association first adopted a document known as the Library Bill of Rights in 1939. Basically, it states that whatever anyone chooses to read is no one else’s business, and there is no good reason for the government or any other entity to interfere. Much more recently, librarians eagerly pursued means of lending ebooks to their patrons, only to find unexpected incompatibilities between doing so and freedom to read. Libraries and privacy Every once in a while, some spectacular criminal act will have people suggesting that maybe the police … Continue reading






Digitizing old books




Not everything is available for free on the Internet. Once upon a time, the list of material not available for free on the Internet included almost every book ever published. The problem was that unless a book or other printed format was either currently in print or available in multiple libraries, it wasn’t conveniently available to much of anyone at all. Now, many libraries and archives are digitizing their collections. Not only old books, but old pamphlets, sheet music, maps, manuscripts, etc. have become more accessible than ever before. … Continue reading






Ebooks and libraries




How can a library add ebooks, something with no physical existence, to its collection? And why would it? I can answer the first question easily. Libraries, like everyone else, have to pay for ebooks. An ebook goes through the same process as any other library material. Someone decides to acquire it. The acquisitions department orders it from the publisher and pays for it. The cataloging department describes it and puts the description in the catalog. Once it’s in the catalog, the reference department can call patrons’ attention to it and the circulation department can check it out. Of course, no … Continue reading






Ebooks and the publishing business




Amazon introduced the Kindle e-reader less than five years ago. It’s one of those devices that seemed like an enormous gamble, took off like wild fire, and now feels like it has always existed. And of course, not everyone is happy to allow Amazon to profit so much firm its revolutionary device. Amazon didn’t invent the ebook or the e-reader. Some large publishing houses, including Wiley, HarperCollins, and Random House already offered ebooks for sale. The public had pretty much ignored earlier devices for reading them, however. Ebooks seemed like an idea consumers didn’t much want. Successful ebook readers The … Continue reading