Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Library Controversy

Hi all,

I have not posted in much too long, so I have a lot to share in this post. First of all, I am planning on setting up an interview with one of the librarians in the library in the coming couple of weeks in order to find out more about the HathiTrust project, which is U of M's study of the possibilities of electronic publishing. I was told by another professor that Aaron McCullogh would be particularly of use in exploring digital media, as he is involved in the library's study of digital media. I am also interested in perhaps seeking out the director of U of M's Journal of Electronic Publishing. I think an interview with her would also bring to light a lot of interesting information regarding the emerging possibilities of e-publishing and the future of the publishing industry.

Last week, in my research I came upon one extremely interesting article in The New York Times Magazine regarding Stephanie Clifford and Julie Bosman entitled "Publishers Look Beyond Bookstores." The article discusses how many major publishing companies are marketing their books to retail stores, such as Urban Outfitters, Sam's Club, or Kitson. Publishers are using such stores as opportunities for the sale of lesser-known books or novelty books that might not necessarily be popular sellers in an e-publishing context. The article also brings to light the idea that certain books are apparently being left out of the transition to ebooks. The article names cookbooks and children's books as two types excluded from the digital world. I feel as though these are two books that might benefit very much from becoming digitized, however. The question of what books are being left out in the transition from paper to electronic publishing is yet another issue that deserves exploration.

I also came upon a very interesting issue regarding the relationship between libraries and epublishing. In searching through newspaper articles, I came upon one New York Times blog that led me to a whole slew of information regarding a controversy between libraries and Harper Collins. Apparently, Harper Collins has decided to limit public libraries to 27 uses of the ebooks they purchase per year. Libraries are up in arms regarding this policy, and it is easy to see why. The idea of limiting something that someone owns undoes the whole concept of book ownership. Why should ebooks be any different than print books? I understand possibly limiting the number of users who can access an ebook at one time, but to force libraries to pay extra for electronic books that they could easily find in paper version is ridiculous. I believe that Harper Collins should alter their policy, but that is simply my opinion. There is definitely more information to uncover regarding the issue and I intend to include it in my website. Here are some links regarding the issue:

Harper Collins Controversy-response of libraries
boycott harper collins.com/explanation

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