Are E-Books Evil?

Probably. At least according to Wired.

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1 Comment

Filed under ...Etc., Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel

One response to “Are E-Books Evil?

  1. First off, it’s taking all of my willpower to not GO IN (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUhxRqEoa_g) on this author just on principle for using a Facebook Sharing, Twitter Retweeting, Buzzfeed-worthy title like “The Abomination of Ebooks.” Enjoy the page views Wired!

    Plenty to take exception with in this article, but it’ll suffice to say this: this author spends way too much time pointing out the symptoms of a problem rather than pointing out the underlying illness. Sure, DRM and inflexible purchasing models for institutions present significant challenges to libraries, but that’s hardly the fault of e-books as a medium. The author’s line of reasoning doesn’t hold up if we extend it to the realm of academia and scholarly publishing. Have you ever heard someone blame the high cost of serials on author’s publishing in e-journals rather than in print? No? Well, then clearly the problem isn’t stemming from this author’s theory: e-books aren’t books at all, but instead are scary “computer code that display text and pictures instead of instructing our tablets to do some task” masquerading as books! And in our foolishness, we’ve let them infiltrate our libraries! Oh no!

    Actually, the problem is that publishers are going to take all of the control and leverage that they can in order to increase profit margins. That’s how capitalism works, and so we shouldn’t be surprised to see that corporations are in the business of trying to make more money. Publishers seem to think that restrictive DRM and contracts that limit concurrent users are how they can make more money. Now if only there were a group of professionals who knew enough about these issues to negotiate with publishers to create better arrangements for libraries. users(http://www.ala.org/).

    One additional point, and while I say this expecting to to raise the wrath of professionals working on issues like digital curation and data preservation. Does the average user with a Netflix subscription really care that they don’t OWN every season of South Park if they are conveniently available for consumption? Our users in academia certainly don’t know or care about the difference between electronic backfiles that we own versus electronic databases that we only have subscriptions(leases) for. Users just want the content – they don’t care how the sausage is made. And no amount of authors warning how they might no longer have access to The Cuckoo’s Calling on their Kindles in 25 years is likely to change that.

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