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TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home

A Few Words on Butterflies, Puddles, Rainbow Screens and Electronic Books
TeleRead for Mexico? | FAQ | Links | Updates | Why Bill Gates Should Give the Net The Great Gatsby

TeleRead is a nonpartisan plan to get electronic books into American homes--through a national digital library and small, sharp-screened computers--in an era of declining literacy.

Along the way TeleRead would help protect electronic books, the most vulnerable medium, by reducing the financial incentive for piracy. It's a net.friendly alternative to copyright Gestapos. You'd be able to dial up Tom Clancy or Joyce Carol Oates--read regular commercial books, not just works in the public domain--for free. A national library fund would pay writers and publishers according to the popularity of their material. They could gamble money up front to bypass librarians or qualify for higher payments.

Yes, a similar approach could eventually work in many other countries.

--David H. Rothman | | 703.370.6540

 TeleReaders aren't quite here yet, but Acorn's NewsPAD helps show possibilities 
More on NewsPAD Tiny Toshiba Notebook--PC Mag Newton MessagePad 2000 
The Last Book--N.Y. Times Apple eMate  Brighter Screens--PC Mag  Laptops and Food Stamp Families--N.Y. Times

TeleRead Wins Friends in Connecticut: On May 22 the Connecticut Higher Education Technology Association held a good, enlightening seminar on the law and politics of the Net--including two overlapping issues: copyright and censorship. The TeleRead model drew favorable reaction as an alternative to the Draconian measures that the copyright lobby and its Washington friends want to inflict on schools, libraries and the public at large. Just as encouragingly, it turns out that John Perry Barlow, one of the other panelists, is open to the idea of a national digital library. -D.H.R.

Site News and odds and ends: The next TeleRead Update will come when writing deadlines allow. Update #11 or #12 will tell of a bold EveryBook -- Click for larger imagePennsylvania entrepreneur who hopes to market a booklike device called an Everybook. The screen resolution actually exceeds that of SVGA, and he wants prices to drop eventually to less than $ has added a forum area (just an experiment right now) where visitors can discuss electronic books and related topics... I described the Electronic Peace Corps and TeleRead proposals on February 25 at the XXIII Simposium Internacional de Sistemas Computacionales in Monterrey, Mexico...Check out an expanded version of the speech and read a related article by ex-Peace Corps volunteers Patrick and Jacqueline Duffy-Saenz...Too bad about Apple losing interest in the eMate, MessagePad and other Newton-type offerings (take a look at the Web site of the eMate Project started by dedicated parents and teachers in Little Falls, Minnesota). The good news is that equivalents with a Mac operating system are apparently on the way.-D.H.R.


TeleRead Intro Education and Libraries Technology and the Net Copyright A Few Book-Related Sites on the Web For Writers TeleRead Updates TeleRead Forum

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TeleRead Intro
TeleRead FAQ
TeleRead Op-Ed in Washington Post
12,000-Word TeleRead Proposal, a draft of a chapter from Electronic Publishing: The Scholarly Frontier (The MIT Press and the American Society for Information Science). Keep in mind that TeleRead has undergone many refinements since I wrote the chapter in 1995.
TeleRead for Minorities, by William R. Murrell, founder of the African-American Culture and Arts forum on CompuServe
TeleRead for the Blind, by David Faucheux, a blind grad student. In text and RealAudio 
The Cutting Edge: Lobbying for a Digital Library--Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine
Link Policy for This Site

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Education and Libraries
Austin Learning Academy Project. The philosophy in many ways is like TeleRead's. The project is family-oriented, rather than keeping learning just in the schoolhouse, and it promotes traditional literacy--not just the computer kind.
Texas Schools May Go to Laptops--C|Net. The plan is for computers to replace textbooks. But will Texas schools address copyright issues adequately, and will children have the right books to read--real books, not just Web sites and CD-ROMs? Questions abound. If nothing else, what about the limitations of present-day hardware for reading books? Hooray for the Web, good CDs and the many-to-many model. But if plans like the Texas one aren't implemented well, educators may accidentally wean children off books. The same issues may arise, of course, when libraries accept software donations.
Microsoft's Page on the Use of Laptops in Schools. Within "Anytime Anywhere Learning," check out the Schools in Action page for actual examples from Texas, California, Australia, South Carolina, Washington State and elsewhere.
Books vs. Bytes--the Online NewHour. A fascinating discussion with a misleading title--given the promise of the Net for transmitting books to people at home.
Can Too Much Technology Hurt Kids and the Schools?, a debate on the Wired site between Linda Roberts of the U.S. Department of Education and Todd Oppenheimer, author of an Atlantic Monthly article called The Computer Delusion. The debate is in RealAudio
Two in Five Teachers Say Kids Don't Have Enough Textbooks: Many Say They Can't Assign Homework. U.S. publishers warn of a serious textbook shortage.
Microsoft Is No Carnegie, Says Salon's Jan. 27, 1997, issue. The company boasts of huge gifts of software to schools and libraries. But a "$300" program may cost all of $30 or less to donate on a disk. Besides, anyone care for Microsoft and Gates to give the Net some real books?
K-12 Web Guru Andy Carvin Meets Bill Gates
Schoolhouse Tech--Feed
Cyber English--The Well-Connected Educator
NetDay, 1997 Revisited
Donated PCs for Schools (LINCT Coalition)
Clinton's $3-Billion Net Ed Plan
Laptop Computers vs. Desktops in Class
Town Buys Laptops for Entire 7th Grade--N.Y. Times
When Parents Instead Pay for Students' Laptops--Times
From Now On, a K-12 journal whose editor knows that today's Net is not a true library.
EdWeb and the related mailing list for Webbed educators and others
U.S. Department of Education. Includes page on technological initiatives.
Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory, working in standards-based education. By making good books ubiquitous, TeleRead would help the cause.
Education Week's Report on Technology and the Schools
The Benton Foundation's just-released report on Schools in the Information Age--which, among other things, warns of the need to add better content to the Net.
Benton's report on libraries and communities in the digital era
Libraries for the Future
American Library Association
The Gates Library Foundation
D-lib Magazine: The Magazine of Digital Library Research
Other resources of interest to educators, librarians, writers and others who care about electronic books. Includes more education links.

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Technology and the Net
A Tablet in Every Hand--Wired News
New LCDs Expected to Be as Easy to Read as Paper
Brighter Screens--PC Mag
$500 Computers Get Boost from National Semiconductor-Cyrix Merger--ZDNet
N.Y. Times Says $100 "REX" Organizer Shows Laser-Quality Text and Has Extra-Long Battery Life. No, we haven't seen REX and don't know if the laser comparison is accurate, but displays are definitely getting better.
NetWorld! Page
NewsWorks, a free and powerful searcher of online newspapers.
Rankdex Hyperlink Search Engine. This hot new technology uses the number of links as a criterion in guiding you to Web sites. The same wizardry could be among the options that TeleRead offered readers.
More on Technology and the Net

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Copyright and K-12: Who Pays in the Network Era?
Copyright Mogul Allegedly Asked Clinton: "Can You Get Justice Off My Back?" --AllPolitics
Will Copyright Push Send Activists to Jail?
Christian Science Monitor Op-Ed on Links Controversy
Link Kill at the Washington Post 
Copyright and Global Libraries: Going with the Information Flow--First Monday
Charging for Online Content--D-Lib Magazine
Fighting Costly Journals, Va. Tech Tells Students to Post Theses and Dissertations on Web--N.Y. Times
Liblicense: Licensing Digital Information. Tips, background and commentary. A service of the Yale University Library.
Commentary from Andy Oram, moderator of the Cyber-Rights List
Publishers Start Campaign for Protection on Internet--N.Y. Times
Electronic 'Branding' Praised at Frankfurt Book Fair--N.Y. Times
How Bullies Can Use Copyright Law against the First Amendment --NetWatch
White House Statement on electronic commerce, including copyright issues
100+ Law Professors vs. Clinton Copyright Policy
Copyright Bill Would Infringe on the Internet's Real Promise, by Gary Chapman
Digital Future Coalition. Brings together Silicon Valley and library interests.
Union for the Public Domain, another group fighting intellectual property grabs
Creative Incentive Coalition. A site for the copyright industries.
The Copyright WebSite. Clear and even funny explanations for lay people.
Copyright Information from Institute of Learning Technologies
University of Texas Copyright Info
U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright basics and a link to pending legislation in the 105th Congress.
More Copyright Links

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A Few Book-Related Sites on the Web
Project Gutenberg. Probably the largest collection of free books already on the Net.
Project Bartleby. Classics in glorious HTML.
American Literary Classics. "A chapter a day."
The On-Line Books Page, which lets you search by author or title.
The Electric Book. "2,500 links to online literature of all kinds."
The English Server. "Over 18,000 works" in the humanities--"covering a wide range of interests."
Boson Books. Commercial online publisher of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama. Offers some freebies.
ReadToMe--free audio software that reads out Web pages and hundreds of classics on the Net
E-Book mailing list and archive. From John Noring of OmniMedia Electronic Books.
New York Times Book Review. A "must" visit. Requires password--free in the States. First chapters of scads of books.
Washington Post's Book World. Hundreds of first chapters.
Bookwire. Handy links to Publishers Weekly, the Book Industry Study Group and other sites from the publishing industry.
Booknotes. This C-SPAN site offers RealAudio as well as transcripts of interviews with writers
Yahoo's Guide to Bookstores Online
Chapter One of The Book Lover's Guide to the Internet, by Evan Morris.
HotWire's Interview with Jeff Bezos of the store. This page will move soon to another location, so check the magazine's archives.

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For Writers
American Society of Journalists and Authors
National Writers Union
Writers Guild of America. Scriptwriter-oriented but of interest to many other writers.
Other Groups--from Write On Magazine

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TeleRead Updates
We'll also be updating other parts of this page.
Update #10: A Few Words about Butterflies, Puddles, Rainbow Screens and Electronic Books
Update #9: Are Book-Writers Going the Way of Neighborhood Pharmacists?
Update #8: Will Bill Gates Buy The Great Gatsby for the Net--or Just Fixate on Software
and PCs?
Update #7: What Bill Clinton Could Learn from Sue Smith
Update #6: Clinton's Intellectual Property Czar Threatens Law Professor
Update #5: $730,000+ from Net-Scared Copyright Lobby to U.S. Politicians
Update #4: Copyright Czar and White Paper, by Mark Vorhees
Update #3: The Robber Barons of the Information Highway, by Josh Shenk
Update #2: Donald Duck Schools vs. Literacy, by Michael Schrage
Update #1: Publisher Treats Supreme Court Justices to Free Trips

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12,000-Word TeleRead Proposal