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July 16, 2005

Fujitsu Develops Bendable Electronic Paper

"Fujitsu has developed what it claims is the world's first electronic paper that can be flexed, can display colour images and can do so when the power is turned off.

"The key to Fujitsu's e-paper is a film substrate that's sufficiently flexible to allow the paper to be bent, but rugged enough to prevent the image from distorting.

"And, unlike today's LCD panels, the image doesn't distort when it's pressed."

Tony Smith. Fujitsu Creates 'First' Colour, Non-volatile e-Paper. July 13, 2005.

DeviceForge.com. Electronic Paper Maintains Images Without Power. July 13, 2005.

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June 30, 2005

Publishers Seek Delay for Google's Digitization Plans

"The Association of American Publishers has asked Google to suspend for six months its plan to digitize books from the collections of several major research libraries and make them searchable online.

"AAP Vice President for Legal and Governmental Affairs Allan R. Adler told the Chronicle of Higher Education that the group made the request in a June 10 letter that stopped short of calling for the project to 'cease and desist.' 'We’ve simply asked for a six-month moratorium to facilitate discussion,' said Adler.

"Adler said in the June 21 Chronicle that the letter was prompted by AAP members’ concern that they have not 'gotten satisfactory answers to their questions about copyright infringement.' It requested a meeting between Google executives and leaders of the publishing association."

American Libraries Online. Publishers’ Group Seeks Six-Month Delay in Google Library Project. June 22, 2005.

See also:
Jeffrey R. Young. Publishers' Group Asks Google to Stop Scanning Copyrighted Works for 6 Months. The Chronicle of Higher Education. June 21, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior stories here and here and here on concerns over Google's digitization.

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June 23, 2005

Google Print Draws Flack from Publishers

" Publishers have finally had a chance to look at some of the details of Google's Print for Libraries project, a massive effort to digitize books that some publishers fear could violate copyright laws.

"So far, many publishers don't like what they see -- and they want Google to agree to a six-month moratorium.

Burt Helm. A New Page in Google's Books Fight. BusinessWeek Online. June 22, 2005.

See also:
Gary Price. Publishers Group Asks Google To Halt Scanning For 6 Months. SearchEngineWatch. June 21, 2005.

Daniel Brandt. Google-eyed U.Michigan Gives Away its Library. GoogleWatch.org. June 19, 2005.

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June 20, 2005

Libraries: The Future Digital Resource Center

"Several years ago journalist John Lenger told a remarkable story in the Columbia Journalism Review about teaching a journalism class at Harvard’s extension school. He asked his young students to write a story about a Harvard land deal that occurred in 1732, but after a week of research, most came back with almost nothing substantial to report.

"The problem: They had done most of their research using the Internet, walking right past Harvard’s library and archives, where the actual information could be found.

"When Lenger questioned their research methods, one student replied that she assumed that anything that was important in the world was already on the Internet."

Michael Rogers. Turning Books Into Bits. MSNBC News. June 19, 2005.

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June 15, 2005

N.Y. Public Library Starts Digital Library

"The New York Public Library announced Monday that it is making 700 books — from classics to current best sellers — available to members in digital audio form for downloading onto PCs, CD players and portable listening devices."

Associated Press. New York Library Offers Audio Downloads. MSNBC. June 13, 2005.

See also:
N.Y. Public Library. Kafka or Clancy for your Headphones: The NY Public Library Offers Digital Audio Books for MP3 players and Computers. (Press Release.) June 13, 2005.

Update: Reuters. N.Y. Library Audio Book Project Snubs iPod. News.com. June 14, 2005. (The files are based on Microsoft copyright protection software and will not work on Apple's iPod.)

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June 04, 2005

Will Sony's PSP Play Books?

"Sony Computer Entertainment may be planning to bring digitized texts to the PlayStation Portable. The company recently filed trademarks for 'PSP Comics,' 'PSP Books' and 'PSP Magazine' with the Japan Patent Office.

"These trademarks could foretell future products, or they could simply be a cautionary measure to head off possible property poachers."

Hirohiko Niizumi. E-books Coming to PSP?. News.com. June 3, 2005.

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June 03, 2005

Amazon.com Slides Into Publishing

"What is Amazon up to these days? Are they the friend or foe of the independent writer?

"Amazon's recent purchase of two companies (Booksurge and Mobipocket) hints at a future business strategy geared not only to the long tail concept but also self-publishing in general."

Kuro5hin. Amazon.com, Ebooks and "Chump Change." May 16, 2005.

See also:
O'Reilly Radar. Self Publishing Changes All the Rules? April 24, 2005.

Tim O'Reilly. What Do You Think About Self-Published Books? O'Reilly Developer Blogs. April 15, 2005.

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May 17, 2005

Adobe Digital Media Store to Close

"Without any fanfare, the Adobe Digital Media Store, which was set up to showcase the versatility of the PDF format, will cease operations on June 3, 2005. According to its Web page, users no longer are able to purchase digital content, although they may download already purchased content and redeem gift certificates before the June closing date.

"Tom Prehn, senior business development manager at Adobe Systems Inc. and the creator of its Digital Media Store, said that the store, which was launched Oct. 31, 2003, sold a wide range of content, from best-selling novels and popular magazines to scientific papers. According to Prehn, the store became unnecessary as vendors such as Amazon.com and eBooks.com increasingly offered a broad range of e-docs for purchase."

Robyn Weisman. Adobe to Shut Down Digital Media Store. PDFZone. May 11, 2005.

See also:
Don Fluckinger. PDFs Don't Have to Be an Internet Blight. PDFZone. April 11, 2005.

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May 06, 2005

Search Inside the Book Tools

"Google, Amazon and others offer really useful 'search inside the book' tools, but they're not always the easiest features to use. Here's a closer look at getting the most from online book search services."

Gary Price. Going Under Cover with Book Search Tools. SearchEngineWatch. May 4, 2005.

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April 21, 2005

Japan Library Proactively Digitizes Collections

"The National Diet Library is wrestling to digitize 8.14 million books to keep pace with the age of the Internet and to prepare against major earthquakes and other natural disasters.

"The Diet library, the only archive of the legislative branch of government in Japan, has been collecting publications issued in the country since its opening in 1948.

"At the end on March 31, 2004, of fiscal 2003, its collection totaled 8.14 million, including valuable reference materials on Japanese political history."

Kyodo News. National Diet Library Working on Digitization of Books. Japan Today. April 20, 2005.

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April 18, 2005

Detailed Look at Google Library Project

"The digitization of the world’s enormous store of library books—an effort dating to the early 1990s in the United Kingdom, the United States, and elsewhere—has been a slow, expensive, and underfunded process.

"But last December librarians received a pleasant shock. Search-engine giant Google announced ambitious plans to expand its 'Google Print' service by converting the full text of millions of library books into searchable Web pages.

"Most librarians and archivists are ecstatic about the announcement, saying it will likely be remembered as the moment in history when society finally got serious about making knowledge ubiquitous."

Wade Roush. The Infinite Library. Technology Review. May 2005.

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Are Libraries Still Relevant?

"'Within two decades,' says Michael A. Keller, Stanford University’s head librarian, 'most of the world’s knowledge will be digitized and available, one hopes for free reading on the Internet, just as there is free reading in libraries today.'

"Can that really be possible? If so, where exactly does it leave libraries? More important, where does it leave culture?

"On the one hand, the digital revolution represents the ultimate democratization of knowledge and information, of which Carnegie likely would have approved wholeheartedly. On the other hand, libraries perform an essential function in preserving, organizing and to some extent validating our collective knowledge."

Daniel Akst. Do Libraries Still Matter?. Carnegie Reporter. Vol 3., No.2, Spring 2005.

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April 07, 2005

Amazon.com Acquires Book Printing Service

"Online retail giant Amazon.com has acquired printing fulfillment company BookSurge, which maintains a catalog of thousands of book titles that users can print on demand.

"The move likely reflects Seattle-based Amazon's continued efforts to add new revenue streams and counter competition from online rivals such as eBay and Overstock.com."

Tim Gray. Amazon Buys On Demand Player BookSurge. InternetNews.com. April 4, 2005.

See also:
Reuters. Amazon Buys Private BookSurge. Yahoo! News. April 4, 2005.

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April 05, 2005

France Wants Rival Search Engine

"In the dimly lit cyber-café at Sciences-Po, hot-house of the French elite, no Gauloise smoke fills the air, no dog-eared copies of Sartre lie on the tables. French students are doing what all students do: surfing the web via Google.

"Now President Jacques Chirac wants to stop this American cultural invasion by setting up a rival French search-engine. The idea was prompted by Google's plan to put online millions of texts from American and British university libraries.

"If English books are threatening to swamp cyberspace, Mr Chirac will not stand idly by."

No author. Google à la française. Economist.com. March 31, 2005.

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March 21, 2005

Japan's Cell Phone Users Turn Pages

"Your eyes probably hurt just thinking about it: Tens of thousands of Japanese cell-phone owners are poring over full-length novels on their tiny screens.

"In this technology-enamored nation, the mobile phone has become so widespread as an entertainment and communication device that reading e-mail, news headlines and weather forecasts -- rather advanced mobile features by global standards -- is routine.

"Now, Japan's cell-phone users are turning pages."

Yuri Kageyama. Japan Cell-phone Users Turn to Literature. Boston.com. March 18, 2005.

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March 05, 2005

Library Offers Audio Books on iPod Shuffle

"Checking out a new iPod now applies to more than shopping trips or web browsing. This week the South Huntington Public Library on Long Island, New York, became one of the first public libraries in the country to loan out iPod shuffles.

"For the past three weeks, the library ran a pilot program using the portable MP3 devices to store audio books downloaded from the Apple iTunes Music Store. They started with six shuffles, and now are up to a total of 10. Each device holds a single audio book.

Cyrus Farivar. Library Shuffles Its Collection. Wired News. March 3, 2005.

See also:
National Public Radio. iPod Shuffle at a Public Library. Talk of the Nation. March 3, 2005.

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March 02, 2005

The 'Copyfight' Battle

"There will be no winners if we do not sort out copyright, argues columnist Bill Thompson. But let us not forget moral rights.

"Amidst all the 'will they?, won't they?' excitement over whether European patent law should be updated, and whether the version currently on offer will allow US-style software patents, it would be easy to forget that another, bigger, battle continues around the world.

It is the 'copyfight' - the continuing dispute over what sort of legal protection creative people or the companies that employ them should have over the ways in which their works are used."

Bill Thompson. The Copyright 'Copyfight' Is On. BBC News. Feb. 18, 2005.

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February 03, 2005

Library Allows Users to Copy E-Books

"For audio-book addicts, the King County Library System has something for you and you don't even have to set foot in a library.

"Last November, the county library became the first in the nation to allow people to download audio 'e-books' to home computers.

"An e-book can be downloaded from the library's Web site onto a computer and either burned to a CD or transferred to an MP3 player.

"For free."

Susan Gilmore. King County Library Lets You Copy its E-books. The Seattle Times. Jan. 31, 2005.

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January 14, 2005

Clean Up the Copyright System

"Last month, Google announced a partnership with major research libraries to scan 20 million books for inclusion in Google's search database. For those works in the public domain, the full text will be available. For those works still possibly under copyright, only snippets will be seen.

"But the excitement around Google's extraordinary plan has obscured a dirty little secret: It is not at all clear that Google and these libraries have the legal right to do what is proposed.

"If lawsuits were filed, and if Google and its partner libraries were found to have violated the law, their legal exposure could reach into the billions."

Lawrence Lessig. Let a Thousand Googles Bloom. Los Angeles Times. Jan. 12, 2005.

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January 10, 2005

Sony, Matsushita Release Electronic Book

"They have fought over DVDs, digital cameras, MP3 players and flat-screen televisions. Now Japan's gadget makers have chosen a new battleground for 2005: the electronic book.

"Technology companies and science-fiction writers have been predicting the death of paper for decades, and they have always been wrong. Until now, people have happily stuck to books despite the digital age because books still represent the cheapest and easiest-to-read medium for words.

"But Sony and Matsushita, the two largest consumer electronic companies, believe they may have turned the corner in driving the humble book to extinction."

Leo Lewis. Latest Thing in Hi-Tech: A Book. Times Online. Jan. 1, 2005.

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January 07, 2005

Internet Archive to Build Google Alternative

"Ten major international libraries have agreed to combine their digitised book collections into a free text-based archive hosted online by the not-for-profit Internet Archive. All content digitised and held in the text archive will be freely available to online users.

"Two major US libraries have agreed to join the scheme: Carnegie Mellon University library and The Library of Congress have committed their Million Book Project and American Memory Projects, respectively, to the text archive. The projects both provide access to digitised collections.

"The Canadian universities of Toronto, Ottawa and McMaster have agreed to add their collections, as have China's Zhejiang University, the Indian Institute of Science, the European Archives and Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt."

Mark Chillingworth. Internet Archive to Build Alternative to Google. Information World Review. Dec. 21, 2004.

See also:
Internet Archive. International Libraries and the Internet Archive Collaborate to Build Open-Access Text Archives. Dec. 15, 2004.

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January 03, 2005

The Management & Logistics of Digitization Projects

"Susan Wojcicki's grandmother, a librarian for more than 30 years, ran the Slavic department at the Library of Congress. Now Wojcicki is overseeing Google Inc.'s ambitious plan to digitize the collections of five top libraries: Stanford, Harvard, Oxford, the University of Michigan and the New York Public Library.

"The project eventually will allow any Internet user anywhere in the world to search inside millions of volumes, seeing the pages exactly as they appear in the originals, complete with illustrations, charts and photos.

"The logistics involved are staggering."

Carolyn Said. Digitizing Books: A Mountainous Task for Google. SeattlePI.com. Dec. 24, 2004.

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December 22, 2004

Google Won't Replace Libraries

"This week Google Inc. down in Mountain View, wading in dough from its stock offering, announced it would use some of the money to put millions of volumes from the country's great libraries online where anybody can use them.

"Don't burn that library card just yet, though.

"There's a catch. Well, several. First, as anyone trying to send Grandma's recipe for plum pudding to a sister in Des Moines knows, scanning takes time. Google claims to have a new whiz-bang way to do it -- there won't be some luckless employee feeling her brain cells die as she flattens a book on a cranky copier page by page. It won't say exactly what its method is.

"For a company bent on putting the universe at the disposal of anyone who can type words into a box, it seems less enthusiastic about information flowing out of its headquarters in Mountain View."

Adair Lara. 'Googleizing' Libraries Won't Replace Books. San Francisco Chronicle. Dec. 18, 2004.

See also:
No author. Here's What You Will - and Won't - Be Able to See When Searching for Library Books on Google. Detroit Free Press. Dec. 15, 2004.

George Kerevan. Despite Google, We Still Need Good Libraries. Scotsman.com. Dec. 16, 2004.

National Public Radio. Google's Plan Prompts a Question: What's on the Web?. Talk of the Nation. Dec. 15, 2004.

Matt Hicks. Google's Library Project Could Drive Content Contest. eWeek. Dec. 14, 2004.

Andrew Leonard. What Google Promises Us. Salon. Dec. 14, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: Salon.com normally requires a paid subscription, but you can view articles if you register for a free day pass.)

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December 15, 2004

Major Libraries, Google Partner to Digitize Collections

"Five prestigious university and public libraries have reached agreement with Google Inc. to digitize millions of volumes in their collections and make portions of the text available for free to computer users online, the search giant plans to announce today.

"The collaboration is likely to rekindle debate about the extent to which books should be available on the Internet. Some publishers worry that such efforts will depress sales. But the libraries say online access can be a boon to researchers and a benefit to people who do not have access to high-quality collections.

"Initially, some of the libraries plan to make available the full text of books that are in the public domain while offering snippets or excepts of books protected by copyright."

David A. Vise. Google to Digitize Some Library Collections. WashingtonPost.com. Dec. 14, 2004.

Cynthia L. Webb. Google -- 21st Century Dewey Decimal System. WashingtonPost.com. Dec. 14, 2004.

See also:
Hiawatha Bray. Google to Index Works at Harvard, Other Major Libraries. The Boston Globe. Dec. 14, 2004.

Gary Price. Google Partners with Oxford, Harvard & Others to Digitize Libraries. Search Engine Watch. Dec. 14, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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December 13, 2004

Libraries Go Virtual

"The newest books in the New York Public Library don't take up any shelf space. They are electronic books - 3,000 titles' worth - and the library's 1.8 million cardholders can point and click through the collection at www.nypl.org, choosing from among best sellers, nonfiction, romance novels and self-help guides.

"For years, library patrons have been able to check card catalogs online and do things like reserve or renew books and pay overdue fines. Now they can not only check out e-books and audiobooks but view movie trailers and soon, the actual movies.

"And they can do it without setting foot in the local branch."

Tin Gnatek. Libraries Reach Out, Online. The New York Times. Dec. 9, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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October 25, 2004

PLoS Takes On Reed Elsevier

"A major new 'open access' journal for medicine has been launched, putting it in direct competition with the established publications in this lucrative area including Reed Elsevier's The Lancet.

The Public Library of Science (PLoS), a US-based not-for-profit organisation, is behind PLoS Medicine, which it said was 'the most significant international general medicine journal to emerge in over 70 years'.

Saeed Shah. US Public Library of Science Launches Rival to 'The Lancet'. Independent.co.uk. Oct. 19, 2004.

See also:
Laura Lynch. Public Library of Science. Creative Commons. Oct. 2003.

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October 14, 2004

OCLC's Entire Collection Moving Toward the Web

"Excited by the 'resounding success' of the Open WorldCat pilot program, the management of OCLC has decided to open the entire collection of 53.3 million items connected to 928.6 million library holdings for 'harvesting' by Google and Yahoo! Search.

"Besides expanding the Open WorldCat content to the entire WorldCat collection, OCLC has modified the interface. According to Andrew Boyer, project manager for Open WorldCat, the new interface lets the user choose to expand holdings information to regional or even a worldwide view.

"If Google and Yahoo! choose to harvest the entire WorldCat database, several advantages should occur. Most obvious, the leap in coverage from 2 million records to 53.3 million records represents a tremendous value surge to and through the Web."

Barbara Quint. All of OCLC’s WorldCat Heading Toward the Open Web. Information Today. Oct. 11, 2004.

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October 09, 2004

Google Announces New Book Search Service

"Google has quietly launched a new search technology to help publishers sell books online, a fast-growing market dominated by Internet retailer Amazon.com.

"Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will host a press conference on Thursday to demonstrate the technology at the Frankfurt Book Fair, an important showcase if the Internet search engine is to recruit the heavyweights of the book publishing industry.

"The new service, dubbed Google Print, will be incorporated into Google search queries. From launch, users will see book excerpts alongside ordinary Google Web page search results. The book excerpts will carry a link to buy the book from a choice of online book retailers."

Jeffrey Goldfarb. Google Launches Amazon-Style Book Search Business. Reuters. Oct 6, 2004.

See also:
Danny Sullivan. Google Print Opens Widely to Publishers. SearchEngineWatch. Oct. 6, 2004.
Associated Press. Google Expands Book Search, Making More Content Available. San Jose Mercury News. Oct. 6, 2004.
Keith Regan. Search Wars: Google, Snap, Amazon Arm for Battle. E-Commerce Times. Oct. 6, 2004.

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September 08, 2004

Proposal for Free Access to Research

"The National Institutes of Health has proposed a major policy change that would require all scientists who receive funding from the agency to make the results of their research available to the public for free.

"The proposal would mark a significant departure from current practice, in which the scientific journals that publish those results retain control over that information.

"Pressure to make publicly financed research results more available to the public has been building for years but gained new momentum this summer with report language by the House Appropriations Committee.

"'The committee is very concerned that there is insufficient public access to reports and data resulting from NIH-funded research,' it read. 'This situation . . . is contrary to the best interests of the U.S. taxpayers who paid for this research.'"

Rick Weiss. NIH Proposes Free Access For Public to Research Data. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 6, 2004.

See also:
Peter Suber. NIH Open-Access Plan Frequently Asked Questions. Sept. 6, 2004.

Susan Morrissey. NIH Weighs Open Access. Chemical & Engineering News. Sept. 6, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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August 30, 2004

Electronic Books Becoming More Popular

"After more than a decade of false starts and empty promises, publishers may finally be starting to understand what consumers want from electronic books.

"Although revenues remain tiny, industry surveys show encouraging signs of growth in e-book sales over the past year.

"Publishing executives and analysts say the industry is finally coming to grips with the most significant issues that have stalled e-book adoption to date."

David Becker. Have e-books Turned a Page?. News.com. Aug. 27, 2004.

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August 17, 2004

A New Business Model for Online Publishing

"After 13 years of experimenting, veteran Net publisher Adam Engst has finally stumbled on a good business model -- fast-turnaround e-books.

"Since 1990, Engst has been publishing TidBits, a weekly Mac-oriented newsletter that is the second-longest-running publication on the Internet.

"From the get-go, Engst has pioneered just about every revenue model on the Internet -- ads, subscriptions, sponsorships and the now-ubiquitous tip jar -- with mixed success.

"But now Engst thinks he's finally cracked it. Since last fall, Engst has published a series of rapidly produced e-books using a system he calls 'extreme publishing.'"

Leander Kahney. Net Publishing Made Profitable. Wired News. Aug. 13, 2004.

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August 06, 2004

Lessig Encourages Freedom to Imagine

"You can pay $25 for Lawrence Lessig’s new book. Or you can download it for free. What’s the catch? None, according to Lessig, a law professor who specializes in intellectual property and is the author of Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity.

"A memo Lessig wrote to his publisher convinced Penguin Books that releasing Free Culture online actually would increase sales of hardcover copies. Which may be true: there have been more than 180,000 downloads—and Penguin is on its third printing."

Stanford Magazine. Give It Away and They'll Buy It. July/August 2004.

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July 13, 2004

Publishers' Cry Wolf About Amazon.com "Problem"

"Is Amazon.com becoming the Napster of the book business?

"The analogy may not be far off, say some observers of the used-book industry. Publishers, particularly textbook publishers, have long countered used-book sales by churning out new editions every couple of years. But the Web, particularly sites like Amazon and eBay, have given millions of consumers an easy way to find cheap books - often for under $1 - without paying royalty fees to publishers or authors."

Ladies and gentleman, this is a story without an issue. Neither a problem nor an emergency exists here; the publishing industry simply is not making as much money as it used to, and therefore it is asking the public to focus on a red-herring issue (the effect of online used book sales on profits) while trying to figure out how to protect the margins for its new, full-priced product.

Print publishers, like their record industry brethren, long have dominated creation and distribution channels. But over the last few decades, technology has advanced to the point where writers have more options for getting their work published, and consumers have more options for buying that work. Faced with this business reality, the industry has rolled out its public relations machine and created a false emergency -- which includes using statistics of dubious value, like the Ipsos BookTrends figures noted in the Times article -- to "prove" there is a "problem."

It is a shame that the Times and other news outlets continue to perpetuate these falsehoods. It is sloppy journalism at best.

The copyright law on this issue is crystal clear: the "first sale" doctrine, which is codified at Section 109(a) of United States Code Title 17, says that if you lawfully purchase a book, you own it and can resell it. Period, end of story. The Times article fails to mention this critical fact.

So when someone like Lorraine Shanley, a principal at Market Partners International, a publishing industry consultant, utters comments like "Used books are to consumer books as Napster was to the music industry," readers must realize that such comments are asinine. There is no legitimate comparison between the used book industry -- where items are bought and sold in a perfectly legal secondary market -- and illegal mass distribution of digital music files, where the songs or albums being re-distributed may or may not have been legally purchased.

The one thing that is different in today's used book market -- which is almost as old as the publishing industry itself -- is that Amazon.com and other online merchants have used technology to facilitate the distribution of these items to consumers. There is no copyright violation, there is no illegality; it is solely and exclusively a business problem to which the publishers have been slow to react.

When the record industry resorted to this sort of propaganda, disinterested scholars published credible studies (.pdf) that proved that file sharing had little effect on record sales, and in some cases actually helped record sales. Perhaps the book publishing industry needs to do what the record companies already have done: study the secondary market in order to help the sales of its primary market.

There will be a residual effect of this Times article, though: it will be cited to once the publishers lobby Congress to begin chipping away at Section 109(a). When this happens -- and trust me, it will happen -- consumers should boycott all publishers that are involved in the effort.

Bob Tedeschi. Online Battle of Low-Cost Books. The New York Times. July 12, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:34 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 27, 2004

A Reader In Every Palm

"The Wi-Fi world's here. Some of us dinosaurs choose to lug our PCs around to take advantage of it. Other, smarter consumers save their backs by getting phones, PDAs, and next-generation computing devices such as the Sony AirBoard to do Web stuff, be it surfing, emailing, trafficking in PDFs or anything else.

"If Adobe has anything to say about it, PDF will be there as a content vehicle for all of these new machines, making good on its mantra of 'publishing anything, everywhere, on any device.' This month, the company announced that it will port the Acrobat Reader to Linux-driven consumer devices--the first of which will be a Sony navigation system available only in Japanese cars for now."

Don Fluckinger. Adobe Reader to Find Its Way to More Devices. PDF Zone.com. June 23, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:30 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 22, 2004

Library Stacks Going Digital

"For the last few years, librarians have increasingly seen people use online search sites not to supplement research libraries but to replace them. Recently librarians stopped lamenting the trend and started working to close the gap between traditional scholarly research and the incomplete, often random results of a Google search.

"A three-year study of research habits, including surveys of 1,233 students across the country, that concluded that electronic resources have become the main tool for information gathering, particularly among undergraduates.

"Librarians have to respond to these new ways and come up with a way to make better research material available online. That means working with commercial search engines to make ever more digital-research materials searchable."

Katie Hafner. Old Search Engine, the Library, Tries to Fit Into a Google World. The New York Times. June 21, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

May 28, 2004

Give It Away Now!!

Courtesy of the Creative Commons blog, I have just read an interesting story about how a creator might use the Creative Commons licensing program and still manage to make some money in the process. In particular, the story analyzes Lawrence Lessig's decision (along with his publisher, Penguin) to distribute free electronic copies of his new book Free Culture, and the business model any author might use in order to earn money from a creative work in the age of digital reproduction and distribution.

"Let's say you've written a book. A book that is worth publishing. Let's say you've got a publisher for your book. A publisher that people have heard of. What happens when you convince your publisher to give your book away, for free, to anyone who wants it? This isn't about giving review copies to journalists, this is about converting the book into an electronic format and giving it away to the general public so that they don't have to spend their hard-earned cash on buying a hardcopy for their hardwood bookshelf.

"If you believed the RIAA and other proponents of draconian copyright legislation, what happens when there is a choice between a free (legal or otherwise) download and a bought physical product, people will choose the free version over the bought version. Thus, say the RIAA, each time the free version is downloaded a sale is lost and the creators (read: rights holders) lose out financially.

"By this logic, giving away your book, even with the consent of your publisher, is a bad idea. Commercial suicide even. It's not something that any sane author should do, surely?"

Suw Charman. Something for Nothing: The Free Culture AudioBook Project. Chocolate and Vodka. May 24, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:04 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

April 27, 2004

The E-Book May Be Back

"The latest development in Sony's EBook business department is arguably the first successful attempt at a proper electronic book with a display that approximates the look of traditional paper. The LIBRIe EBR-1000EP [launched] in Japan on Saturday.

The Guardian. Library Without Books. Guardian Unlimited. April 22, 2004.

Sony Corporation Japan. LIBRIe EBR-1000EP. (Japanese language text).

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 05:23 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)