What is the future of books in a digital age?

Perhaps the question needs to be, 'What is the future for the delivery of books in a digital age?' I have great faith in the future of the book industry, provided they move quickly with the times and determine how it is we will access the digital files that will become the basis of our library collections. Working with young adults convinces me that reading habits are alive and well!

  • What does the future hold for the book collections we support today in our Libraries?
  • Are you thinking of electronic delivery of resources? Do you subscribe to databases? If you do, what do the usage statistics tell you about them as a resource?
  • Have you seen eReader devices such as the Kindle or iPad? What challenges/opportunities do these present to Libraries?
  • Will we loan out devices, or loan out temporary files? Will DRM (Digital Rights Management) thwart the vital role libraries have played in the dissemination of information to the masses through the ages? Will it be that consortiums negotiate on our behalf with publishers for access to resources or will we be expected to negotiate as individual libraries?
  • How will the Google Book Project impact on the delivery of information for resources? Have we made a mistake in allowing a monolith like Google to control the process of scanning of Library collections? Can they be trusted to do the right thing with the information they have?
  • What are the interpersonal and emotive aspects of physical books that may see the book industry change at a different rate to in comparison to the changes that occurred in the music industry?

Project Gutenberg is the place where you can download over 32,000 free ebooks to read on your PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other portable device.

Google Books Library Project Google's page explaining their motivation behind the scanning of books into the world's biggest digital library.

Google Books Settlement Agreement A lawsuit was settled between Google the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and a handful of authors and publishers. Details of what the agreement looks like can be found here. Please note: this lawsuit applies to the USA, it is not an international agreement. This will have implications for access to material for countries outside the USA.

The Public Index "a project of the Public-Interest Book Search Initiative and the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School. We are a group of professors, students, and volunteers who believe that the Google Book Search lawsuit and settlement deserve a full, careful, and thoughtful public discussion. The Public Index is a site for people from all points of view to learn from each other about the settlement and join together to make their voices heard in the public debate."

Is Google about to sell us a Newspass? Roy Greenslade's Guardian post about what may be coming our way. Google's first steps into monetisation of content.

Libraries and Transliteracy blog a group effort to share information about the all literacies (digital literacy, media literacy, information literacy, visual literacy, 21st century literacies, transliteracies and more) with special focus on all libraries.

Google and the Future of Books - Robert Darnton's must read article My post about The Google Book project and Robert Darnton's post expressing concern about the stranglehold on information we are seeing from a huge monolith like Google.

eBooks and DRM: libraries advocating for what Kathryn Greenhill's blog post speculating about eBook delivery in libraries.

Libraries for a Post-literate society Doug Johnson's 2009 article for Multimedia and Internet @ schools.

eBook restrictions vex users Worries expressed in this article about Digital Rights Management issues holding back use of eBooks in Education.

The problem with ereaders Post from Glossaria's blog expressing frustration with accessing books in digital form.

Research paper: Digital Reading Spaces: How expert readers handle books, the Web and electronic paper by Terje Hillesund (published April, 2010)

Libraries lead the ebook revolution Phillip Harvey's common sense post about ebooks. Also refers to the Google Book project. Interesting comment thread.

Libraries have a novel idea "...a group of libraries led by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library, are joining forces to create a one-stop website for checking out e-books, including access to more than a million scanned public domain books and a catalog of thousands of contemporary e-book titles available at many public libraries." Interesting article, that talks about the ability to loan out digital files that will be encrypted with software that renders them unreadable after 2 weeks.


Daniel Clancy, Engineering Director of Google Books, discusses Google's historic project to provide greater access to books online. Clancy talks firsthand about the fundamentals of digitizing books, the recent settlement agreement between Google, authors and publishers, and the implications he foresees for the business, publishing and academic communities. This is 1hr and 30minutes of must watch viewing in my opinion. In the last 10 minutes Dan discusses how he views the future of physical and digital book delivery.
Moderating the interview/discussion is John Hollar, CEO of the Computer History Museum.
(recorded July 30th 2009. Duration 1hr 30mins)

Reading 2.0 Wiki providing information about how to promote reading using technology. Compiled by Anita Beaman, University High School, Illinois State University, Normal and Amy Oberts, Oakland Elementary School, Bloomington Public Schools, District 87