Thoughts on the True Nature of Ebooks

Stuart Kelly at The Guardian has an interesting take on the potential new reality of ebooks:

Why ebooks are a different genre from print (posted March 26, 2013)

I’ve long been advocating for the multimedia potential of ebooks but I hadn’t really thought about the data-gathering and non-private nature of the medium before.

On a deeper level, I’d like to see more longitudinal studies done on information comprehension and retention when reading ebooks, as well as direct neurological mapping of ebook reading vs. print. I’m curious to know how our pre- and sub-conscious minds deal with the physical differences in the delivery mechanisms.
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Again with the Ebooks & Online Library Services & Patron Privacy

Defining a Less Polarizing Position

I was talking to my wife about my concerns over patron privacy and library ebook lending for Kindles, and she presented me with an argument that pretty well demolished my entire principled stance on this issue:

Ebook services for libraries don’t carry any really controversial or potentially dangerous stuff anyway. Ereaders are for fluff – all the data shows that pretty much no one uses them for serious reading or scholarship. There’s no real danger in exposing ebook lending records because there’s nothing there to get patrons in trouble in the first place.
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Library Services – or, What Makes A Library Valuable?

An Attempt to Bring Together a Variety of Recent Issues

I know the hoopla about Terry Deary is old news already, but I keep thinking about it, circling back around to it.

Despite my powerful and vociferous reaction to his statements about the value of public libraries, there’s something about this situation that still isn’t resolved in my mind. And I think I know what it is.

Terry Deary is absolutely, 100% wrong about the “concept behind libraries”. Which begs an essential question:

How did a well-educated, literate man come to view public libraries so wrongly in the first place?
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Ebook Lending for Kindles & Patron Privacy

Back in November, I wrote about some serious concerns I have regarding library-based social sharing platforms and patron privacy. More recently, I find myself harboring similar concerns about ebook lending for Kindles.

I’ve never actually checked out an ebook from my library. So the other week, when I was asked to help a patron check out an ebook for her Kindle, I was taken aback when we reached the step where she was required to sign in to Amazon using her personal Amazon ID. This step raises an important question:

What happens to the record of this transaction in Amazon’s database?
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Advertising In Libraries? Maybe…

I’ve been hearing about public libraries selling advertising space as a source of funding for a couple of years now. I keep thinking that I should be opposed to this idea on principle – and I’m fascinated to discover that I’m not.

I think this article does a fine and concise job of summarizing the issue:

Advertising in Libraries? Considering the Consequences (posted on Non-Profit Quarterly, February 27, 2013)

Selling advertising space in libraries has the potential to be a substantial source of funding. Librarians are well aware of the dangers this type of arrangement poses; any library wishing to go this route will make sure to include language in any such contacts that explicitly deny advertisers the right to have any say in operational or policy decisions.
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