LibraryCity on ‘Kindle Chronicles’ podcast: DRM, DPLA, e-book future and cell phone book clubs among topics

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davidKindleChroniclesNever mind what the legacy publishers say. DRM will cost them billions in book sales over the years if they keep insisting on “protection” despite the inconvenience to retail customers and library patrons. Beyond that, DRM is a threat to books as a permanent medium. What’s readable on today’s machines might not be so accessible in the future.

On this week’s podcast of The Kindle Chronicles, I don’t shy away from some good, healthy DRM-bashing. I’ll add a few more details here. Within the library world, some nice things are happening at the expense of DRM—for example, open access offerings of books and journals, as well as BiblioBoard’s geo-based access. DRM is still a major blight for libraries, alas, because of the stubbornness of the big publishing houses and because so much of librarydom is configured to use it, but may this change in time! One compromise solution on the retail side would be the use of social DRM.

Elsewhere on the podcast, I talk about the need for the Digital Public Library of America to reinvent itself as the Digital Academic Library of America—so that, among other things, it can focus on being a first-rate academic library. Beyond that, real public libraries are civic institutions. They don’t need overlords, even well-intentioned ones, from academia—hence, LibraryCity’s continued advocacy of separate public and academic systems, although the two should be tightly intertwined and share many resources. See some thoughts from Jim Duncan, a prominent Colorado librarian.

Len Edgerly, the Chronicles host, also asks me about the future of e-books. I’m more comfortable talking about electronics than about biotech and the rest, but strictly as a civilian, my guess is that books will be piped directly into our brains someday without our even “hearing” the words unless we want to. We’ll save “hearing” for books we really, really care about—just as some people today read E routinely but prefer their very favorites on paper. They haven’t seen anything yet.

lenedgerlyOn TKC, Len and I discuss cell phone book clubs, too, and next week I’ll probably write more on the topic. And at some point I’ll have a few words to say about David Lee King’s social media book. Face2face in effect provides some tools that club organizers could use to help promote the clubs and add value in other ways.

Meanwhile I am thrilled that Len invited me. Even without knowing who asks the questions and who answers them, you can tell us apart. He’s the guy with the relaxing podcast voice.

Related: Kudos to Len and Ken Clark for their work over the years on the E-Books for Troops project, which is winding down, partly because the hardware has become so cheap nowadays. Yes, “mission accomplished,” with around 1,000 donated devices distributed! And notice? Right up to the end, Len is spelling “e-book” my favorite way—with a hyphen.

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