Empowering the Reader in a Digital World

My notes from the session are below the embedded slides.

Empowering the Reader in a Digital World

Al Carlson, Tampa Bay Library Consortium

Chad Mairn, St. Petersburg College

Program Goals:

lots of great topics coming in this session!

What’s a book?

cave paintings; babylonian tablets; scrolls; Gutenberg (Codex); tree sliced very thin covered in cardboard; Kindle (eBook)

The form of the book has changed; the book is the content, not the package.

What happens when the package undergoes a drastic change?

Cassette tape -> CD -> MP3

VHS -> DVD -> Streaming

Book -> eBook???

Diagnosing the DVD Disappointment: A Life Cycle View, Judson Coplan, The Leonard N. Stern School of Business [highly rec’d report]

Rate of adoption of new devices, has increased more and more throughout the 20th century.

DVDs took 6 years adoption fully penetrated. eReaders?? we’ll see.

History suggests that eBooks will rapidly invade the codex space. Will be replaced by better package.

As libraries — we won’t be ready. We’ve NEVER been ready!

Books aren’t dead (Newsweek cover story).

What is a dedicated ereader? nook, sony, kindle.

Long battery life; small format with huge capacity; eink; reflect light the way paper does.

Boombox –> iTouch

Book –> eReader

1 book –> 1000 in pocket

Kindle 2 and Kindle DX; 3500 books holding capacity (4 tons of books)

Nook; Sony Reader; Copia other devices.

Non-dedicated eReader: a device designed for some other larger purpose that can also read epublications. (tablet (iPad); mobile devices; Kindle for PC/Mac; Stanza app; Nook apps for multiple devices; Kindle apps)

Android eReading apps.

Which one is better? Dedicated vs non-dedicated

Dedicated: excellent for etended reading; fall into book.

Non-dedicated: quick reading;

Is it ok to have both? YES!

Who knows what they will look like 50 years from now…

ePub Formats

Check out the Wikipedia article

Overdrive: ePub and PDF formats

Netlibrary: PDF, HTML, DJVU format (changing?)

Dueling formats: the cassette/CD format format difference is easy for our patrons to see and understand; eBook formats not so much.

AZW vs. ePub.

They don’t care — just want to read!

If format were the only issue (www.calibre-ebook.com)

Same Format, dueling DRMs

Sony: ePub w Adobe Adept DRM

Apple: epub w Apple’s Fairplay DRM

Kindle: AZW using Amazon’s DRM

Nook using Adobe DRM

Is DRM a good thing or an evil thing? YES!

Patron perspective: users don’t care about drm or formats they just want to read

Any devices we see will be quaint in a few years

ePub and Public Libraries

  • Access – website becomes “the” library (my library has a website vs. my website still has a library)
  • Delivery: instant home delivery. no need to visit the library. or wait.
  • Delivery: your costly, polluting, labor intensive inter-branch delivery vanishes.

Effect on Public Libraries

  • Overdues: book self-returns when due
  • Storage: your entire collection fits on a one or two Terabyte harddrive (about $50 per terabyte at CompUSA
  • Service area: why have a ‘local’ library?
  • What happens to ownership? Storage on OD’s servers; CKO via OD’s software; Access via Netlibrary website
  • Do we own the book we “bought”?
  • Publishers’ reluctance to sell to libraries
  • Term limited eBooks
  • Limited range of vendors

Homework/Quest One

  • Create OSS that enables a library to store and check out eBooks without needing an “overdrive”
  • Think Apache
  • Mailman

Question Two

  • Devise a purchasing plan that benefits all.

Question Three

  • Find out and share the true cost of publishing a book in hard copy vs publishing that same book as an eBook


  • http://laurafreberg.com/blog/?p=13
  • Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education survey (75% still prefer print textbooks)
  • 2011 Horizon Report
  • Campus Technology 3/11
  • St. Petersburg Times 2/17/11
  • Arizona Republic, 7/6/10

[links coming later]

eTextbook Options

  • CourseSmart
  • Amazon.com
  • CourseLoad (browser based eTextbook written in HTML5)
  • Flat World Knowledge
  • Inkling

[links coming later]

Kno, textbook tablet (dual or single screens). Interesting….


Browser-based ebooks = truly device agnostic.

Books in Browsers 2010: The Future of Reading on the Web conference [link later]

Appropriate Library Response

  • issues like this that keep us relevant and employed
  • powerful and FUN
  • evolution in action
  • show me the rules that say libraries may not convert ePUB to AZW for patrons or never ever mention Calibre or Feedbooks

Hands on empowerment

  • Calibre
  • have a DRM free eBook available
  • Have a Kindle with Cable
  • (Ask me about DRM afterwards) [is this legal or not legal — not gone to the Supreme Court; it’s not illegal to know how to do something; Agatha Christie murder mysteries, anyone! –speaker]


  • DRM schemes are a possibly necessary evil
  • Current treebook CKO is primitive DRM
  • DRM schemes can be beaten, and it’s not illegal to know how
  • We can be the eBook source with the least annoying DRM and often none at all.

How do we stay in the game?


One New Model (SHRED)

  • Search
  • Holds List (current alternatives cost money & time)
  • Rental (lease)
  • Electronically Purchase
  • Donate to your library

Possible Academic model?

  • find and borrow or buy an ebook
  • add notes in a photoshop like layer
  • return or sell back the book
  • retain the notes
  • sell the notes to next term’s students to be overlaid on the ebook (or used bookstore could do this)

Who do we buy from?

Empty shelf space; repurposing staff

  • community center (Yin to Starbucks’ Yang)
  • eGov and the stigma of food stamps
  • Library expertise on ePub (OCLC Perceptions study)

Note to self: Really need to get to work on that MARC records eBooks project for NExpress (thanks to Colorado’s records)…

Further resources