Doctorow & The Future of Copyright

From the Guardian UK:

If copyright is to have winners and losers, then let’s start talking about who we want to see winning, and what victory should be.

In my world, copyright’s purpose is to encourage the widest participation in culture that we can manage – that is, it should be a system that encourages the most diverse set of creators, creating the most diverse set of works, to reach the most diverse audiences as is practical.

That is, I don’t want a copyright system that precludes making money on art, since there are some people who make good art who, credibly, would make less of it if there wasn’t any money to be had. But at the same time, I don’t think that you can judge a copyright system by how much money it delivers to creators[.]

This is just one of the better quotes from the latest Cory Doctorow column at the Guardian. I’d say that you should stop reading my entry right now and go read the column in its entirety while you have the spare time. For me, it gave me a perspective on an issue that I had been wrestling with in my mind for a long time. I was stuck in an infinite loop of the creator versus the common good, a revolving fight to allow content makers to control while still allowing people to build, use, or improve upon their creations. (This is what I get for being fair to a fault.) Here, in plain English (the Queen’s, not the colonists, for that matter), Mr. Doctorow lays a great foundation for determining how to approach copyright and the public interest that employs common sense criteria.

While Mr. Doctorow uses the music, movie, fashion, and architecture industries as examples of different cases of logical copyright assertion and consistent public interest doctrine, the industry I was looking for (and found missing) was authors in regards to ebooks. Given his history for giving away his own ebooks and getting companies to drop DRM on his books, I do have an understanding of his ideals for the market. And as much as I admire them, I understand that other authors and publishers may beg to differ. What I am wondering is if there is a balance that can be created so as to allow authors like Mr. Doctorow to drop certain copyright controls while allowing others to keep ebooks under their scrutiny (be it DRM or something else).

Obviously, it would be a system that allows for an opt out. That handles Mr. Doctorow’s end of that equation. But what would be the rights for those who opt in that make the most amount of sense for the author as well as the general public? A model based on print books is not going to work since the ebook resembles a music file more than its paper brethren. So maybe it’s time to dream up something new.

I have an idea, but it’s just that: an idea. So bear with me.

Why not create a pricing scale that reflect the balance of control between the author or publisher and the end user? To give an example to illustrate what I mean, let’s say you are shopping for an ebook by a popular author. A DRM, no transfer licensed ebook would cost $5; a DRM transfer limited ebook would cost $7.50; and a DRM free do-what-you-want-with-it no licensed ebook would cost $10. In other words, the cheaper prices reflect the assertion of author/publisher control of the material and the more expensive prices grant greater control or ownership. It’s a sliding scale in which the price determines the rights granted to the ebook.

Basically, you buy your way to the freedom you want for the material. Buy the cheaper DRM book and want the DRM free version? Pay the difference. Could people opt out of the scale and name one level of control and one price (even free)? Certainly. Under a scaling system like this, it doesn’t deny people who simply want to read without a concern towards readership. I believe that people will pay a premium for ownership, so why not utilize it as a revenue stream for the publisher or author? Yes, there are still concerns about piracy and authors that will only sell under one set of conditions. As this is an idea, I don’t have a firm grasp how to respond to those potential pitfalls. Hopefully, someone else reading this might have a solution. However, I think this is a step in the right direction for further development.

(As an aside, consider the fact that iTunes offered DRM free tracks at a premium before dropping down their price to compete with Amazon.)

Thoughts? Can something like this work?

Augmented Library Reality

This is why I like reading a ton of blogs. If something gets past me the first time, someone else might pick up on it and make it an blog post. This is one of those times.

From Shelf Check last month:

What if […] there were neat, social, community-building opportunities for patrons to engage in whenever they happened to step foot in the library? That didn’t require planning on the library’s part, or remembering on the patrons’ part? That were targeted to their own individual interests? That fostered connections between them and their neighbors? That made stopping by the library just to see what’s up in the building worthwhile, as opposed to only using the digital branch? That helped people to learn and to better use our resources and our spaces?
Here’s what I’m thinking: a living, updated-in-real-time site (somewhat like Twitter or Foursquare in the way it works–and it would need IM capabilities built in), ideally displayed prominently on a large screen in the lobby/entrance, but workable even if it was just on the web via a link on the library’s home page (that automatically loads when you use the library computers, and that wireless users can choose to load).

Emily Lloyd goes on to note a couple of things. First, a system like this is completely voluntary. If you don’t want people joining you or learning your name or any intrusion on your privacy, then don’t do it. Even if you share an activity or location once, you are not under any obligation to do so in the future. It’s a complete opt-in idea.

Second, people could create accounts with a user or screen name that is not connected to their real name. This creates a barrier between the user and their identity and allows them to share as much information as they want about themselves when they meet up with someone. People will be given an additional safeguard over their identity.

Third, it could be done for a relatively low budget. While Mrs. Lloyd talks about a display setup, I know that the technology exists now for people to text a message to a special short code and have it appear on a screen. (I remember seeing it in Boston at an ice cream place called Toscanini’s. You can see the monitor in the upper left corner of this picture.) I would surmise that it would be a matter of buying the display and the software or service to use it. Under this premise, a patron could text a message, it would display for a set time (for instance, one hour), and then scroll away afterwards.

I can see this idea as being meaningful to the library in several ways. First, it creates the air of spontaneity that Mrs. Lloyd speaks about in her original post. It becomes a place for people to drop in and see what is going on at the library. It changes the tempo from being static to dynamic in nature, in which smaller events and connections can be created on an ongoing basis in conjunction with scheduled library programming. With a “status board”, one could mix the library events with patron happenings, allowing the library to announce what is going on currently as well as who else might be there or other things going on in the library.

Second, a savvy library could analyze the ‘check-ins’ to see what people are up to. Is there a regular group meeting to talk about current events? Offer them space or refreshments or other support. Do people regularly come to study Spanish? Examine your language collection and see if they are using it or whether additional purchases should be made. It provides some feedback as to patron behaviors and activities; and more importantly, it is something you can act on in tailoring the user experience.

The only downsides that I can see critics raising is the possibility of user stalking, inappropriate status messages, and the potential for luring people into remote areas of the library to assault them. User stalking is nothing new to the library, so that could be handled accordingly. Inappropriate status messages could be filtered before being posted with a backup system in place to remove those that survive the process. As to the last aspect, luring people to areas of the library, it would be a matter of letting people know that if they are unsure about joining someone in the library, a staff member would be glad to escort them. There are some common sense guidelines can be put in place much in the way that you tell kids to not go with strangers.

The aspect of this idea that appeals to me the most is serendipity. It’s the creation of a possibility or a chance at something new or different. The brain appreciates a good gamble, especially when there is nothing to lose in trying. It’s a risk-reward that is all reward. It’s a good gamble on a local social connection which creates a new possibilities for the patron.

Someone should steal try this idea. Because I’d like to see how it works.

(h/t: The Civil Librarian)

The Mitigation-Prevention Dynamic

ux-suffers

There’s something about John’s tweet here that struck me as having broader implications. How much time is spent in libraries working on preventative measures as opposed to mitigating ones?

By preventative measures, I mean the policies and practices that seek to regulate as much as possible for both the patron and the staff. Everyone has seen some variation of signs that are full of “NO” statements; no eating, no drinking, no cell phone use, no loud voices, no moving the furniture, no horseplay, no running, and so forth and so on. Everyone has also seen signs that are full of declaratives such as “Patrons must have your library card to do [X, where x can equal anything]”, “Patrons must return materials here”, or “Computers are for adult patrons only.” There is a point where having such things make sense; you want to show that there are basic rules to using the library.

But there are moments when I really wonder about it. Most of the time, these moments happen in the few seconds after a staff member has related a story about an incident within the library and finishes with the sentence, “I think we need to make a sign for that.” Inwardly, I cringe because the one of the Great Ironic Truths™ of the library (an ancient institution dedicated to reading) is that people generally do not read our signs. Even then, when I ask whether this has happened before or if it is part of a series of incidents, most of the time the answer is no.

So, in summary, something bad has happened once, there is no indication whether it is part of a future pattern, and now we need to take a dramatic step in ensure that it never happens again. I’m sure that there are some situations in which this applies, but to use it as the ‘one size fits all’ reaction to every potential negative event in the library is absurd.

It’s a bit hard to tell at times whether the pendulum between mitigation and prevention has swung too far in the latter direction. There are photo groups on Flickr dedicated to documenting library signs that are borderline infantilizing the patron. There are also a good number of stories that get passed around by rules and policies that are drafted or modified in order to address very specific incidents. On the other hand, there are individuals like Stephen Bell, Michael Stephens, and the source of inspiration for this post John Blyberg that are working towards the mitigation end of the spectrum. In keeping up with their efforts, I think it might create a bit of a blind spot to the overall issue. In other words, I can’t tell whether prevention is as big a monster as it comes across as or whether the negative prevention stories resonate more with people than positive mitigation ones. My instincts are telling me to lean towards the “monster” idea, for what it is worth.

What do you think about the mitigation-prevention dynamic? Has it gone too far to the prevention end? Where can mitigation be substituted for prevention? And where do we mitigate when we really should prevent?

Sunday Speculation: Games & The Brain

Tim Chatfield–TEDGlobal-July 2010

This TED video is not a continuation of a case for gaming in libraries, but rather a glimpse into the discoveries about human behavior that video games are revealing. The industry, poised to reach triple the size of the recorded music industry by 2014, has been taking lessons from how people act within their virtual words, what motivates them, and what reward systems work. In turn, game designers are crafting their worlds to play on people’s expectations, their thought patterns, and what keeps them engaged. While the “laboratory” for these discoveries is online, the implications of these findings have real world applications.

As Mr. Chatfield notes in the close of his talk, game creators are now constructing virtual worlds to meet (and appease) the neurological biometrics of the brain. He makes a list of the lessons that can be gleaned from it and the real world implementations that can be used. I don’t really have a question other than wondering what other people who have viewed this think about the points it raises. So, take about fifteen minutes to watch the video and please post your thoughts below.

From Across the Pond..

From the BBC News Magazine:

I live with the tensions between the world out there I want to see and even contemplate, and the inner world to which the book gives me access. It is the inner rewards of reading a book in a private and concentrated way that lead you into realms of your own imagination and thought that no other process offers. Something happens between the words and the brain that is unique to the moment and to your own sensibilities.

It is why, at such moments, it is so awful to be interrupted – and why I am frequently late at meetings because I find it hard to tear myself away. Any society that doesn’t value the richness of this encounter with ideas and the imagination will impoverish its citizens.

The author, broadcaster Joan Bakewell, discusses the deep cuts to government spending that being discussed over in the UK. This includes the closing of 130 libraries in London as well as in other parts of the country. Her overall concern is on the value of reading and its place in the public discourse as well as society at large. In closing libraries, Mrs. Bakewell worries about the future for the upcoming generations. It’s a nice “feel good” read, though for me it lacks the push for specific action that this issue really needs. Awareness is certainly important, but providing the first step as to remedy the situation is what gets movements rolling. However, I believe that is where my esteemed UK colleagues can pick up the message from there.

Best quote of the commentary:

My defence should not be seen as the attempt merely to rescue a small building in a particular borough, or any other particular places threatened with closure. Rather it is a rallying call for the concept of free libraries. In our culture the library stands as tall and as significant as a parish church or the finest cathedral. It goes back to the times when ideas first began to circulate in the known world. I worry where wisdom will come from.

You can also hear her read the commentary.

Anonymous Rex

Emily Ford over at In the Library with the Lead Pipe has written what I think is a fascinating article on anonymous professional librarian discourse. She takes the position of being against the practice for a lot of sensible reasons: one cannot judge the credentials of the author, no professional ramifications for their words, and the vitriol that can sometimes spew forth from such anonymous prose. These are pretty sound evaluation criterions for judging the work as it is presented and its context. Where I differ from Mrs. Ford is with her conclusion that undisclosed publication being the “last resort” of professional librarian discourse.

If you have this well established reasoning basis in place, then to me it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are surrounding the undisclosed authorship. I think that of all people librarians should have a finely tuned (for lack of a better phrase) bullshit detector. Information appraisal is one of our our bread and butter skills and the rationale that we give to when asked what the profession contributes to society. Under this concept, I don’t think it matters whether the author is known or not when it comes to evaluating their writing; it will either stand up for what is written on the page or not. The missing data regarding author background is just another variable in the equation of the weight you give the piece, not a fatal error that prevents it from being taken as serious discourse.

With the rise of the reputation economy, what matters is the establishment of the identity. If they are a consistent writer of meaningful content, then it builds towards that of a contributor. If they are loaded with divisive and invective terms or attacks on one’s person (as opposed to ideas), then it shifts towards a detractor. Of course, nothing is that simple: the presence of both qualities puts people in the position of judging whether they are building or taking away from the topics. It is left to the reader to judge whether they are a credible commentator on the subject matter. Personally, I would like to give people greater credit in their ability to make decisions regarding the value of content, especially in this profession.

In the end, the reputation created matters more than whether or not they disclose their name. I’m not unmoved by the desire to make people accountable for their words; it’s an undeniable social justice urge to attach the negative connotations of their content with their person. Likewise, there is desire to be able to display support for those whose words move you, make you think, and otherwise affect you. But that should not be an eliminating factor in determining the value of professional discourse.

I find it odd that a profession so hell bent on freedom of expression that it has an entire week devoted to it has such issues with anonymous authorship. Is it not simply another form of expression? If one was to remove the names of the authors from some of the books that are held in such high esteem that week, would that make them less worthy of defending? Should libraries only defend the controversial works in which the author is known? (Go Ask Alice, a book attributed to an anonymous author, is on the Banned Books list.) Is there a compelling reason not to extend this courtesy to professional discourse when the content is well written, well reasoned, and within the scope of professional literature?

I should note that I’m not saying that the Lead Pipe people should accept undisclosed articles for consideration. They have defined their editorial controls to include that authors need to be known; that is their well justified prerogative. In my gradually increasing collection of library and librarian blogs, I have found some anonymous or pseudonymous blogs out there that would pass muster for professional writing in my estimation. (In the efforts of full disclosure, there is also a share of blogs that write pure drivel.) To treat their lack of identifying authorship as a slight is the equivalent of judging the book by its cover. Let the words speak for themselves and then determine its worth.

Identity should not be a barrier to contribution. It’s a luxury that has been afforded to us by the creation of an online world, but it is not simply a last resort.

State of the Blog: Google Reader

I thought a little “behind the scenes” look would be a fun change.

trends

For those who may have a curiosity as to where I get some of my content, that’s my running thirty day total in Google Reader. To be fair, not all of the Reader items are library related. I have a couple of Google alerts for specific terms and subscriptions to some pop culture and technology feeds. This also does it represent combing through a half dozen other news sites that I look through for tidbits that might spark an idea for a blog entry. I also comb through Twitter and Facebook for additional ideas.

When it comes to library and librarian blogs, I like a wide range of voices to choose from. I’ve started incorporating blogs from other library types (academic and school, mainly) and specific library aspects (reader’s advisory, cataloging) so as to broaden my world view. I won’t say that I’m able to understand everything I read, but I’m working on it slowly.

In sharing some of my own continuing education, my question to my readers is this: what online (or offline) sources do you use to get news in the library world? What works for you?

LISNPN Interview

For those who don’t know Ned Potter, he is a librarian in the UK and the co-creator of the Library Routes Project. This fascinating project asks librarians to write about their journey to the career and what the road was like for them. Over one hundred librarians have shared their story and there is always room for one more. Go and read some stories or share your own (this is my entry for the project). Ned is also brilliant for his work tackling the library echo chamber and looking to outside sources for insight and perspective into the library world. He’s a gentleman and a scholar, and I am pleased to trade tweets and emails with him.

Awhile back, Ned asked if I would agree to do an interview for the UK based LIS New Professionals Network. The site for the group describes itself as “an online network for new professional in Library & Information Services”. The interview itself was all done via email to which I wrote my replies and sent them back. It was part of a group interview in which my answers would be combined with two others: Bobbi Newman and Buffy Hamilton. I’ve excerpted my answers to the interview below, but you should go and read the whole thing.

[Note: These answers were written a few months ago. So the ebook one is a bit out of date already. –A]

***

Seeing as this is a US librarian special, let’s look at some cultural differences first of all. In your opinion is there any difference in the way people in the UK or America view the library as an institution (and the people who work there)?
From what I have read, I don’t believe so. I think there might be a difference in the underlying expectation of government service. Whereas people in the UK pay higher taxes but receive a greater number of government services (healthcare being the major example this year in the US), people in the US have come to expect the government to cover certain basic services. Libraries are one of these services, but opponents of such public money expenditures tend to the frame the institution as a luxury.

I’ve always had the impression, just from my limited experience of Twitter etc, that a greater number of senior professionals engage with social media in the US than in the UK – would you say that’s something you’ve noticed? And if so, why do you think this is? I like it when senior pros use social media because it levels the playing-field – it’s communication to anyone whose interested, rather than just to other high up people.

I wouldn’t have a good explanation as to why this is so. If I was to guess, I think it’s because the US just has a larger number of early adoptors since we have a larger professional population. I’d be interested if there was a way to survey the number of professionals who use social media versus the overall professional population so that a measurement of overall adoption could be established.

I do like it when senior professionals use social media because I think it is a great way to communicate ideas from a vantage point of experience. The common complaint is that there isn’t much leadership in the library field and I think that having these experienced individuals on social media counteracts that notion.

Okay last cultural difference question – in the UK we have a concerted New Professionals movement. People who’ve joined the profession in the last five years or so get bracketed as New Profs and grouped accordingly for events etc. Is there anything similar in America? I’ve not noticed such a specific move to label the newbies on your side of the Atlantic…

As someone who graduated with my MLS in 2006 and got my first full time librarian job in 2007, I’m in the New Profs bracket. While I haven’t seen anyone label the new librarians as such in the US unless you want to count "The Unemployed" which is more prevalent than it should be in new MLS graduates. There are not the positions available that had been heralded by the ALA and Occupational Outlook (that’s a US Department of Labor publication that forecasts job growth).

Do you see libraries as being in something of a state of crisis at the moment? What is the biggest threat we’re facing – governments, media, public perception, what?

That’s a big fat "it depends" answer. For school libraries, any cuts to education spending (whether local, county, or at the state level) tend to take a chunk out of that budget. Schools are under enormous pressure to preserve instruction time and keep class size low, so they take it out of other places. Depending on the state, school libraries are varied state of crisis; whether it is staffing, materials expenditures, or even additional duties, school libraries are taking the hit for budget cuts.

In the public library, there are any number of crises that libraries are facing all across the US. There have been some big budget battles between librarians and the elected officials with inconsistent results. Some places, like the state of Ohio, libraries were able to recover funding through ballot initiatives where people voted for taxes to restore funding to their library. In other places, like my own state of New Jersey, state budget cuts have been ravaging local budgets and the libraries are being put on the chopping block pretty ruthlessly. For my fellow librarians, it has been a learning experience as to how to get involved in the political process. I think in the long run we will weather through it, but there are going to be some lean years and some rebuilding involved to get back to where we were. However, I don’t think a little time in the wilderness is necessarily a bad thing; it’s that time spent in proverbial exile that allows for an objective evaluation of the institution and where it is going.

(I’m not terribly familiar with academic libraries, so I’m not certain what they are facing at the moment. Same goes for special libraries.)

Overall, I think the enemy of libraries is perception. What people think about libraries is what they believe about libraries, so something erroneous such as "everything is online" or "libraries are unnecessary because of ebooks" can really take off easily on communication platforms like the internet. Perception is so key these days that librarians really need to step

I don’t want this to be too negative so let’s talk positives – Andy, you are passionate about your job and your profession, what is the thing that most excites you about your job, day-to-day?

Service is what gets me going during the day. I love helping people. There’s nothing comparable to it. There aren’t many occupations where you can say, "I help people improve their daily lives" and mean it. My friend Peter Bromberg gave a keynote at the 2010 ALA Annual conference in which he said "reference saves lives" and I firmly believe that. It’s not obvious in the same way as a doctor or police officer, but the subtle way in which you can change a person’s day can make the difference. It reminds me of the saying that starts with "For want of a nail, a shoe was lost". Librarians can make that tiny difference that sets people onto whole new paths. This I firmly believe to be true and what makes me excited to be at my job.

Future trends – what are the developments on the horizon which will change the way we work, or just generally make things cooler?

The rapidly descending price of e-reader devices will put ebooks as the new major collection edition of the next five years. I predicted at a dinner at ALA 2010 that Amazon will be *giving* the Kindle away within five years when you buy a certain number of books online. With the price drop to under $200 and heading towards $100, I stand by that prediction.

Of course, this will bring up other issues concerning US copyright, the rights of publishers and authors to control their content and where it can appear, and the digital divide. But I can’t wait to see where it goes.

I really liked that #inatweet meme on Twitter – is there a particular platform or piece of technology you find really useful that you’d like to share with others?

I think the most powerful tool right now for librarians is the "Share" button on stories. Whether you put it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Livejournal, WordPress, email, or wherever you are in contact with other professionals, sharing truly is caring.

[Note: David Lee King has a nice little blog post about #inatweet. -A]

Is there a single achievement, or event, or change, of which you are most proud in your career?

I am very proud to be named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker. To be nominated by my friends is quite an honor and I’m in excellent professional company. I daresay it has emboldened me to take confidence in what I write in my blog, to reach out to others in the profession, and to try new things.

The Future of Digital Speech

This commentary in the Chronicle of Higher Education is about speech controls in the hands of business (specifically, companies like Google, YouTube, Facebook, and the bulk of social media), but I cannot help but think of how it relates to other challenges to collection materials that libraries in general receive over time. The United States government is (generally) not the source of censorship; it is the private interests (either individual, group, business, etc.) that represent the bulk of challenges to free speech and expression. From the article:

Americans, who have long mistrusted government, are acutely aware of and sensitive to public censorship—more so, perhaps, than any other nation. There is a strong First Amendment tradition in the courts. But Americans tend to be much less concerned with the danger of private censorship. That’s too bad, because the greatest dangers to free speech in the future will come not from government interference but from speech monopolists. That has been true for much of the 20th century, and while it seems hard to imagine now, it could become the fate of the Internet.

Back during Banned Books week this year, Stephen Abrams made a comment in his posting of my Banned Book video. He said:

Now if libraryland could only just be more outspoken about banned websites and e-resources. If most books, magazines, video and other materials go digital, then who’s going to speak out for freedom? What about the blocking of certain whole categories like streaming video, social networks, etc.? Will the systemic banning of certain e-items be water under the bridge and standard practice by the time we all notice and want to do something about it?

With a digital future looming on the horizon, the importance of speaking out and securing free speech online is rapidly becoming paramount. There cannot be a free speech equivalent of the digital divide where the physical items are defended for their content and the digital versions are not. (This is another way in which I differ with Dean Marney. At his libraries, why can I pick up a book on sex education and yet be potentially denied access to a website with the same information? My post on his article here.) There cannot be a gap in material availability by medium lest we spend our days arguing about how something is worthy of defending in print over digital or vice versa. There has to be a universal defense made for the materials.

Stephen is right: why isn’t libraryland more outspoken for those sites that find themselves on the wrong side of the filter or the business prerogative?

The Textbook is Dead, Long Live the Etextbook!

Picture by goXunuReviews/Flickr

Via Chronicle of Higher Education:

For years observers have predicted a coming wave of e-textbooks. But so far it just hasn’t happened. One explanation for the delay is that while music fans were eager to try a new, more portable form of entertainment, students tend to be more conservative when choosing required materials for their studies. For a real disruption in the textbook market, students may have to be forced to change.

That’s exactly what some companies and college leaders are now proposing. They’re saying that e-textbooks should be required reading and that colleges should be the ones charging for them. It is the best way to control skyrocketing costs and may actually save the textbook industry from digital piracy, they claim. Major players like the McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson, and John Wiley & Sons are getting involved.

To understand what a radical shift that would be, think about the current textbook model. Every professor expects students to have ready access to required texts, but technically, purchasing them is optional. So over the years students have improvised a range of ways to dodge buying a new copy—picking up a used textbook, borrowing a copy from the library, sharing with a roommate, renting one, downloading an illegal version, or simply going without. Publishers collect a fee only when students buy new books, giving the companies a financial impetus to crank out updated editions whether the content needs refreshing or not.

It’s that last sentence that really grabbed me and was the underlying rationale for writing this post. To me, it totally screams “We need you to sustain our business models!” They can’t make students buy their textbooks, so they are going to roll them into a fee instead. I realize that it solves a legitimate problem (students who cannot afford textbooks) while thwarting a industry concern (pirated copies of textbooks), but I’m having a hard time weighing those aspects against a blanket fee that could not be avoided. I’m wondering if students would be allowed to keep their textbooks from semester to semester, since some can act as a resource for advanced topcis.

(For the efforts of full disclosure, I did borrow a textbook rather than buy it for a class one semester.)

The questions I have are whether college and university libraries would be given the option of adding either the electronic copy and/or the physical book to their collections. That idea may seem rather inane under this model, but I’m looking at it from the angle of historical progression; as in, how people’s thoughts and theories on subjects changed over time through different textbooks and editions. It’s the preservation of the logical progression of the thinking of a subject. I expect to be controverted on this point; I can see academic librarians reading this and saying to themselves, “We have enough old crap as it is, we certainly don’t need old textbooks as it is.” So, I’m sure someone will be happy to set me straight.

Moreover, I would be curious to hear reactions from academic librarians. Is this a good thing? A bad thing? Or just a thing? How does it impact you?