Why new Apple e-book format will ‘screw’ America’s libraries: Any chance the DPLA will wake up?

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imageEarlier I warned that the new Apple e-book format would jack up costs—it isn’t true ePub. And libraries are among the victims.

Now Peter Brantley at the Internet Archive has a first-rate post, at PWxyz, on some specific outrages of iBooks Author, and he himself uses the word “screw” (not the first time circumstances have justified its use here).

Hello, Digital Public Library of America? Just how much do you care about the Tower of eBabel and the related conversion and lock-in costs? Read Baldur Bjarnason for still more details.

And don’t think you can ignore this. Didn’t America’s public libraries once believe they could stay away from the Kindle format? Now, thanks to the short-sightedness of the library world, America’s major public libraries have more or less been turned into Amazon affiliates via OverDrive.

imageThe thing about iBooks Author is that for now it’s billed as an easy way to create e-books with multimedia and other features. And isn’t the DPLA supposed to be “generative”? Apple has deeply invaded the group’s territory, but so far the DPLA is snoring through it all, and the International Digital Publishing Forum ought to be more concerned as well, even if Apple is a member—in fact, maybe more so because Apple is a member. Long term, a robust e-book ecosystem for libraries could increase their influence and make them and publishers less vulnerable to corporate corruption of e-book standards.

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