Monday, October 17, 2011

Ebooks and libraries--my rant

I saw this article from Publisher's Weekly this weekend and it sparked the following rant!

Etailers and ebooks move ahead

I get so angry when a teacher tells me I need to look into ebooks for our library....whatever do they think I am doing these days?  Sitting around bemoaning the fate of paper print books???  Ppplllluuueeeezzeee!!!!!!!!!  I'm still so irritated--I've been thinking about this for several days following a confrontation with a teacher.

Does this teacher use any of the current ebooks we subscribe to?  Does he look at the science books online and share that info with his class?  Has he ever used his projector to show graphs, pictures or stats from any of our current resources? I know that answer to those questions--NO.  But yet he wants to stand there and proceed to tell me I really need to get with the times and buy some ereaders because he uses one and therefore knows all about them.
I wanted to say, "When you've done the amount of research I have done on ebooks, then we'll be on a level play field and can talk."  But I didn't--I was so stunned at his arrogance.  Does he know anything beyond being an individual reader?  Does he know anything about the roadblocks publishers are throwing up for libraries because heaven forbid, they might have a cut in their precious profits!  Has he considered the logistics?  Who's going to monitor the content?  Who's going to pay for it? Does he have any idea how much Overdrive wants to charge for their service?  Way more than our district can begin to afford!

 And not to mention what sort of platform should we go with--Kindles? Nooks?  Ipads?  Or should we concentrate on a platform that can be downloaded to individual's own devices?  If we do buy devices, how do we protect them from damage?  What happens if one is broken, lost or stolen?  What happens if someone downloads inappropriate content? 

I wish publishers would realize how publishing is mirroring the music industry--once the music folks found a cheap easy format for distributing their music--it's become a universal standard!  And I'm not seeing any muscians or music publishers losing money these days.  We need a simple way to distribute books to whatever reading device people own.  And yes, that means Kindles should be able accept the same sort of download as a Nook.  And until the publishers and distributors realize that simple fact, the ebook battles will continue.

But the next time some smug teacher tries to tell me I really need to get with the times, I won't stand by stunned into silence.  I will pull out my research and facts and clobber them with information.  Because after all, knowledge is power.

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