The Latest ebook Frustration

I’ve mentioned a few times here my frustration with ebooks and their lack of functionality in libraries. The saga continues:

“HarperCollins—citing the explosive growth of e-book sales—announced a new e-book lending policy beginning March 7 that will limit the length of its library licenses to a maximum of 26 loans per e-title.” (Calvin Read – Publishers Weekly, March 2, 2011)

Eiffel Girders ©Brian Farrell

The irony in this for me is that I have just this week been in contact again with OverDrive about possibly starting a subscription to their library ebook service now that they support the iPad and iPhone. OverDrive is the very company that is bowing to HarperCollins’ demands of limiting the number of circulations of each ebook to 26 loans per title, and so I now have to face the moral issue of whether we should support them or not.

Author and blogger Cory Doctorow has been writing for years about how awful any sort of Digital Rights Management (DRM) is, and I’m starting to understand why. Publishers like HarperCollins are now starting to realize their power given these tools, and are lashing out in a bid to keep themselves relevant. Not surprising, given that authors are realizing that in the ebook game, publishers are irrelevant and they can do just fine on their own, thank you very much.

Sakura Medal

I’ve been a little negligent with this site lately, but I’ve been ramping up things with our school’s involvement in the Sakura Medal program.  So I’ve got another blog up and running for that now, and invite you to contribute if you’ve happened to have read any of the titles from this year’s lineup.

Google Book Search

So the news is now a little old, but I’ve been thinking about Google’s recent settlement with the publishing industry.  It looks like more and more content will soon be accessible, and I couldn’t be happier.  Right now they only have very preliminary information available, but I hope that sooner rather than later we will be able to sign up as an institution and begin contributing our own collection to the larger project.  Space is definitely at a premium here, so I think it would be fantastic to be able to archive all of our physical copies with an eye to eliminating them alltogether.

As a preK-12 school though, I already see some problems for us with Google’s system.  There’s no easy way to search for age-appropriate material, although I get the impression that there really isn’t a lot of elementary or middle school level stuff available anyway.  Still, it’s a step in the right direction.  Come on Google, keep it rolling – show me where to sign!