For the benefit of public librarians who don’t worry about the “franchise” part of the franchise-and-branding issue, here’s an excerpt from a Toronto Globe & Mail article quoting Mike Shatzkin—a well-known publishing consultant and CEO of the Idea Logical Company:
“Will the percentage of electronic books plateau? No. ‘In 20 years it will not be strange for a kid who sees someone reading a book to ask, "What is that?”’ Screens are going to be ‘ubiquitous.’
“And libraries? ‘Libraries make no sense in the future,’ Shatzkin said on stage in a Montreal library that dates back to 1828. Anyone with Internet access already has access to far more books than were in that library, he pointed out. ‘There is no need for a building.’ There will be an ongoing need for librarians, however; their skills will continue to be in demand, as will those of editors."
Great, but what about a little detail: library users—especially kids not growing up in book-revering homes, including those who could be best inspired in person?
I’ve met Mike, and except on matters like this, I find him rather likeable, and if nothing else, I admire his honesty. Perhaps Harper26Collins is thinking similar thoughts even if the company has decided it’s too early to articulate them in public.
Related: Thoughts from librarian Gary Price—we share many of the same concerns. What’s more, Gary makes the excellent point that plenty of material has yet to be digitized. I realize that Mike’s talking about the future, but let’s aim for carefully planned evolution, not helter-skelter revolution.
- ResourceShelf’s Gary Price is spreading word of LibraryCity
- Tips for using e-readers in children’s book clubs: Attn. parents, libraries, and schools
- Smug about OverDrive? A whopping 39 percent of U.S. public libraries don’t offer downloadable e-books. Does D.C. care? E-textbooks are no substitute, Mr. President
- Don’t let public libraries fade away, Mike—especially the neighborhood branches: That would hurt your publisher clients, not just society in general
- Wanted: Your essays