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The Brigadoon Library!

Book talk

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Edited: Apr 23, 2010, 12:25pm Top

Apr 23, 2010, 12:47pm Top

interesting. Still doesn't move me to want ebooks.

Apr 23, 2010, 12:57pm Top

thinking about this more, I could see some thing like this making it's way in to cafe's, the Cafe can own a number of copies of books and while the user in in the shop they can read what ever is in the pile but not currently being read.

Apr 23, 2010, 12:58pm Top

I can see it happening, but I think this sort of thing will follow a much wider adoption of ereaders than we're seeing so far. Maybe in a few years, some cutting-edge library in a fairly large city will start doing this. It will be longer for those of us in rural areas or small towns, where the number of people who own or use ereaders is negligible.

(And Tim, I hate to nitpick, but that blog post is riddled with typos. And footnote 3 ends with an incomplete thought.)

Apr 23, 2010, 1:12pm Top

Thanks. I think I got most of them now. Have to write fast so I can develop the rest of the day... :)

Apr 23, 2010, 1:44pm Top

Doesn't really increase my love for e-books either, though it does seem more hope-filled than some of the other predictions for their effects.

I certainly don't mind in-house libraries (love me some rare books and the opportunity to touch them), but it doesn't seem like quite the same thing when the same resources/experience is available at Borders :-P.

Edited: Apr 23, 2010, 2:17pm Top

For the record, I am not a particular lover of ebooks. I take it for granted that ebook are on the ascendant—probably very, very ascendant—and I argue (elsewhere) that ebook licensing is a serious problem for libraries. So, I'm trying to figure out how an ebook world can also support libraries.

LibraryThing has bought both a Kindle (broken) and an iPad (Abby has it). I appreciate them for what they're good at, notably incredible immediacy and speed. I dislike them for some limitations, like annotation. And I hate them for what I think they'll do to book-culture necessities like bookstores and libraries.

Apr 23, 2010, 3:23pm Top

The one thing that immediately jumps out at me as a benefit, both in bookstores and in libraries, is the possibility of accessing books that are checked out, incorrectly shelved, or otherwise not physically available. It is so frustrating to want to read the first couple of pages of a highly-recommended book, hear from an associate or librarian that it is indeed in house, and not be able to find it. Or, to be one of a hundred students assigned a reading from an anthology that's out of print - and your local library has but one copy. While I wouldn't go out and purchase an e-reader for this bit of convenience, or only shop/use branches where it were available, it's something I'd greatly appreciate when and where I could use the feature.

Apr 23, 2010, 4:00pm Top

My wife has a Kindle and she loves it. It lets her take her work documents with her on trips as well a several books without any of the hassle. She also says that she prefers reading magazines on it rather than have them pile up in the living room.

Personally Samuel T. Cogley formed my opinion of ebooks back in 1966. Don’t like
‘um, don’t trust ‘um. The books on my shelves won’t disappear by themselves. The text won’t change with out leaving evidence of the change. They are loyal and trustworthy.

Apr 25, 2010, 3:20am Top

I actually like eBooks. My reason being I can read all the stupid trashy novels that just clutter up my bookshelves on my eReader. This saves what limited shelf space I have for reference type books.

I find myself rarely wanting to read novels more than once. The few that have really struck me as significant I have purchased hard copies of but for the most part books that come into my home just lie about and collect dust mites to aggravate my allergies :(

The in store reading thing actually might save me a few bucks.. I read pretty durned fast and I can probably tell within an hour if a book is worth purchasing or not.

I do agree that DRM needs to be kicked to the curb though. I find it silly that I can read a book on this reader but not THAT one (heaven forbid!). I didnt adopt MP3 as a music format of choice until Amazon started offering DRM free files... now if they'd only do it with their eBooks...

Apr 25, 2010, 3:26am Top

It'll be interesting to see if, as sales really ramp up, if Apple and others will want and be able to move to DRM-free products. It happened with MP3s, although I suspect that has much to do with the fact that, well, DRM-free files were already completely ubiquitous. Without CDs as a quick road to DRM-free material, and with a MUCH larger catalog of items, I bet book piracy takes off slower and may not be as complete. If so, perhaps DRM stays.

Apr 25, 2010, 8:54am Top

I am really interested to see where these go in the next couple of years. I want one, either a Kindle or a Nook, for long hikes, but they need to have better battery life. I would imagine they may lose an ounce or two, too, which would be a plus for me. Every bit counts.

I like that I wouldn't have to depend on available light to read on the trail. Add a journalling program and camera, and I'll be first in line.

Apr 25, 2010, 12:35pm Top

A new ereader is born, the "Gorp."

Apr 25, 2010, 12:50pm Top

But does it give other languages than Klingon?

Apr 25, 2010, 12:52pm Top

Well, I think it would be capable of making a "go away!" noise in bear.

Apr 26, 2010, 11:21am Top

Bookishbunny -- The battery life on a Kindle2 is about 2 weeks if you don't turn on the wi-fi part, one week if you do. You can take quite a hike in that amount of time and then recharge it in a public restroom, restaurant, or anywhere there is electricity. You can also add a small book light to read in the dark.

Tim -- I love your name for this, the Brigadoon Library, the musical being one of my all-time favorites.

I don't think I would read ebooks in a bookstore or library (and I really can't say why) but I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Kindle2 for trips. Instead of packing 12 books for a weekend away (in case a few I choose aren't worth reading) and trying to stay under the weight allowed on airplanes, I can take an entire library with me. I discovered that after about 5 minutes, I don't even notice I'm not reading a hand-held book. Additionally, I have the Kindle app on my computers, which can be a great way to relieve boredom for a few minutes.

Apr 26, 2010, 1:32pm Top

", I bet book piracy takes off slower and may not be as complete."


Currently - at least anywhere outside the US - the problem is buying a legal book is harder than obtaining the pirate version. Use your favourite search engine "book title, ebook" will get you a torrent on the first page. Finding a retailer who will accept your money for that title, in a format you can read, may take several more pages, registrations, searches within the site, frustration, and sometimes then result in a book as badly formatted as any pirate version. Many books you just can't find a legal seller for at all - but they're there as torrents.

While this situation persists publishers are just begging the pirates to become the sole source. The publishers need to become the default source now while the market is small, before they lose any relevance the may have.

#12 - battery is 2 weeks. That's some hiking you're doing. And if I was out that long I wouldn't take any extra weight along at all.

Regarding the OP. If buying online were anywhere near as nice as being in a bookshop I'd quite happily let them all fail - captialim in action, move with your markets. But it isn't. Its horrible. see above. Hence I'm still often in bookshops buying pbooks. I'd love to be able to buy ebook that way. But it's all about the practical interface - is it a gimick? Or does it work flawlessly with easy searching?

I want books ot keep - which is why I don't see libraries as being important for anything other than specific research.

Edited: Apr 26, 2010, 1:40pm Top

//Currently - at least anywhere outside the US - the problem is buying a legal book is harder than obtaining the pirate version. Use your favourite search engine "book title, ebook" will get you a torrent on the first page. Finding a retailer who will accept your money for that title, in a format you can read, may take several more pages, registrations, searches within the site, frustration, and sometimes then result in a book as badly formatted as any pirate version. Many books you just can't find a legal seller for at all - but they're there as torrents//


Apr 26, 2010, 3:29pm Top


I want to do the Appalachian Trail as a through hike. Two weeks seems like more than enough to get me from town to town. I figure the 12 ounces is worth it if I am wise on other things. But, like I said, if it's got a camera and journalling program, it would be a great weight/space saving device.

Apr 26, 2010, 5:38pm Top

The Brigadoon Library is an interesting idea. You have certainly done well outlining the positives, and with positives like, "It could save libraries," who could argue?

But it still feels wrong. I might get used to it, and it might work, but it will represent a large shift for libraries, and part of that shift seems to be against the flow of how libraries and everyone seem to be moving in terms of data distribution.

In a time when more and more of the world is accessible on-line, it suddenly becomes more necessary to go to your library for information. That could be wonderful for libraries if people were actually willing to do it. But in a world where so many people would rather just have that book delivered to them right from Amazon, stream that movie over Netflix, read their news "paper" on a website, are people going to get up from their computers and walk/run/drive/bike to their nearest library when they're not willing to do it for these other products? If they would, then hooray for the Brigadoon Library. But if not, then we're back to where it's the library, not the ebook, that does a Brigadoon-style vanishing act.

Certainly in my institution we've become very focused on acquiring electronic resources that we can serve without anyone needing to enter the building. Conversely, and somewhat confusedly, we've also been doing a lot to make the library a more desirable space to visit, so we are certainly not opposed to the idea of drawing more people to the library. Our attitude seems to be: "We're going to do everything we can to make sure you don't need to come into the library, but we're going to make you want to come in anyway."

That's where the Brigadoon Library gets a little iffy. Physical books, whether you prefer them to ebooks or not, have some definite limitations in comparison to ebooks in that you need to go to the library to pick them up, only one person can use them at time, they wear out and need to be replaced, etc. These are real-world, reality-based limitations. The Brigadoon Library model seems based partly on putting artificial limitations on items just to maintain something akin the physical model that we're accustomed to. And it seems like it's what we trade in exchange for the loss of the "first sale doctrine." It doesn't seem like a good trade, but then again no one is offering libraries any kind of trade as it is. We're losing the right to distribute materials, and that's that.

So I see the appeal, but I'm not convinced. I see where it could be desirable for libraries in the absence of other options and acceptable for publishers. But I still feel like libraries come out as losers in this scenario. Especially if we can't convince people that a library is a place for reading, not just borrowing. I know there are plenty who don't need convincing. I see the same faces here day after day, but my library use-model has always been to take items from the library and use them where ever is most convenient, and I'm sure for every familiar face in my library, there are several more who favour my get-what-you-need-and-get-gone approach. It seems like a huge shift to convince people that they need to stay in the library to use its resources when the resources in question have none of the physical limitations that would make it necessary even come to the library to use them, let alone stay there. But, again, it's a solution that publishers might get behind, and it is at least a potential solution in a place where I have heard few solutions offered. I'm not yet convinced that there isn't way to salvage something akin to the "first sale doctrine" when it comes to ebooks, but if we don't/can't, this idea certainly has the merit of being better than just fading away.

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