Monday, January 06, 2003
I'm fascinated by this article: Cleveland Library to be the first to circulate eBook collection. And don't quite have enough information to be able to decide what I think of it. The way the article is written, it sort of makes it look as if anyone who goes onto the Cleveland Public Library website will be able to download any books they want, which I assume won't be the case.

Added a couple of hours later -- according to "only a limited number of each eBook will be available, and after a preset number of days, the eBook will lock out the current reader so another patron can check it out." Which I get the impression the original slashdot poster seems to feel is the thin end of the wedge for totalitarian government copyright infringement of our reading liberties, without perhaps noticing that that's sort of how libraries traditionally work: they have limited numbers of books, which borrowers can check out for a specified period of time.

As an author, I wish that America had Public Lending Right. (It's the system whereby token payments are made to authors for having written books that are checked out of libraries).

"For thirty years before the passing of the 1979 Act British authors campaigned for recognition of their right to receive payment for the free public use of their books through the public library system. It is possible to make a case for PLR on the basis that it provides compensation for lost sales: a library purchases a single copy of a book and lends it out to a hundred borrowers who might otherwise have bought their own copies. However, it would be fairer to say that authors feel PLR is sufficiently justified as fair reward for the literary effort involved in bringing enjoyment and enlightenment through their books lent out free of charge to millions of borrowers."

(The PLR Most Borrowed authors page is fascinating too.)