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And the shoe drops!

Google announces retail sales of ebooks for any Web-enabled device.

This, my friends, is the game-changing development that has been lurking in the background for years, but it wasn't at all clear how it was going to come about.

Wow.

Comments

isherempress
Oct. 16th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not sure this is really the big deal
Given that several of your respondents so far are well on their way to "middle age" let's assume that they (we) are not the target audience for these eBooks. For myself, reading on the iToy is okay and ghu knows I do a lot of it especially in the middle of the night, but while the NYT is fine because I can adjust the font size, gmail sucks because I cannot. So interface will be critical in the product. ...

And paying for it? There's an abundance of FREE material already out there. I don't know. I'm going to sit back and see how this goes. Plus I want to know how & where liberries fit in (why do I get the feeling they'll be screwed first?) (why do I think poor people will get screwed, too -- oh, right, they are liberry users!).

The trouble with monopolies is that eventually they get too big for their britches, and there's no one to keep them in check. Except the public, maybe, who could opt not to buy the product. Oh, that's right, I *do* have an iToy. Never mind. We're all hosed.
alicebentley
Oct. 16th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Yeah, I'm not sure this is really the big deal
What reading through the comments here really emphasized is that I don't know the details of how they are going to set this up. And there's every chance that my assumptions are based more on what seems reasonable to me than on what they are actually planning on doing.

Nevertheless, I think there will be a time, possibly not that far from now, where someone sets up something with the ubiquitousness of iTunes, the freedom of Project Gutenberg, the facility of Amazon, and the payment possibilities of the independent publishers. The devices are almost there, the software has been here for a while, and it's (only, ha! only) a matter of having enough resources to implement it and a willingness to do so.

Google has gotten too big for their britches in many respects, and I think their ham-handed way of appropriating all text everywhere just because is an aspect of that. But they also still seem to be connected to their earlier philosophies, and I'm willing to see how their next few efforts play out before condeming them (not that you were).

Regarding libraries and ebooks, I really can't guess which way it will go. I think it should be as cheap and easy as possible for libraries to access and distribute books. But I can see that there still needs to be some mechanism that rewards the publishers and creators as well. The current method of limiting checkouts to the number of copies of an ebook that have been purchased, seems clunky and unnecessary. But I don't know what better system to suggest.

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alicebentley
Alice Bentley

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