Last week Peter Svensson, a technology writer for the Associated Press, wrote a piece about how using his local library to find, download, and read ebooks has gotten a little better, but is still fraught with problems and hassles. Because it was an AP story, it appears all over the Web. In honor of all the flyover states that a national digital public library will serve (as well as the East and West Coasts, AK, and HI), here’s a link to the Fargo/Grand Forks ND instance of Peter’s story. [Update: The link no longer works, but here’s one to a Minneapolis paper.]
Svensson mentions the usual problems – small collections, having to wait for an available copy, poor system design, DRM, content silos, etc. – but this paragraph near the bottom of his piece is noteworthy in the context of the growing sense of the need for a well-stocked national digital public library:
“Another source of frustration is the way the nation’s e-books are divided among thousands of libraries. Some branch out there might have a spare copy of ‘The Black Swan,’ yet I’m stuck in the long line of the local library. One national e-book library would be better.”
- More criticism of e-books as they exist today in the library world
- ‘The most urgent digital library needs are those of Lady Gaga and the Kardashians’
- E-books catching on in K-12—plus the rejection of the Google Book settlement: Two good reasons for a well-stocked national digital library system
- Any first-rate Mongolian translators—for my Chronicle essay on the digital library issue?
- “Newport Beach may close Balboa branch, open ‘electronic’ library”: Many are shunning books. How to restore their popularity—and protect the public library model?