Libraries and Google’s On-demand eBooks

December 6, 2010

A colleague of mine told me a few minutes ago that Google announced it will start selling ebooks through Google Book Search today. I did a preliminary search for Mark Twain’s authorized autobiography here and sure enough, there is a large button that says Buy Now.

Here is the Google restrictions from their Terms of Use:

You may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, transfer, or assign your rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party except as expressly permitted by Google. Provided, however, that nothing in the Terms of Service shall prohibit any uses of Digital Content that would otherwise be permitted under the United States Copyright Act. In addition, you may not remove any watermarks, labels, or other proprietary notices on or in the Digital Content. If you have multiple Google accounts with different user names, you may transfer Digital Content out of an account and into another account, provided you are the owner of each such account and provided Google has enabled a feature of the Service allowing such transfers. You acknowledge and agree that Google may place limits on the number of Devices and/or software applications you may use to access Digital Content and that such limits may be set by Google at any time at Google’s discretion. You acknowledge and agree that Google may record and store the unique device identifier numbers of your Devices in order to enforce such limits.

What is most relevant to libraries? “If you have multiple Google accounts with different user names, you may transfer Digital Content out of an account and into another account, provided you are the owner of each such account and provided Google has enabled a feature of the Service allowing such transfers.”

It appears that Google is aware of the needs of individuals to transfer books from personal devices. Hopefully they will be open to talks with libraries who wish to share books with their users for short periods of time–or perhaps to have institutional logins which will allow all affiliated users with authentication to read (and one day download?) the content.

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Disney Offers Subscription for eBooks

September 29, 2009

From the New York Times: Disney is offering a library of 500 Disney book titles on the web but using a subscription model instead of a purchase-on-demand model. That is a relatively small number of titles but it is an interesting first step. This is the first I have heard of a vendor leaning toward the established eJournal distribution model (besides rumors of what Google might do with Google Book Search). I have felt that this really is the direction publishers are going to go.

So will DisneyDigitalBooks.com allow its content to be viewed on devices? So far it doesn’t appear so. Frim NYT:

“The company feels that devices don’t offer a Disney-level experience for kids and families, and I agree with them,” Ms. Epps [a media analyst] said.

At this point I would agree but that is largely due to how interactive Disney has made their site. However, it is only a matter of time before they get wise and either develop their own color reader or (probably) an iPhone app which will handle their multiple services.


Goodreads Adds eBook Downloads

April 9, 2009

Thanks to @bencrowder for the info: Goodreads has added eBook formats (Mobipocket, pdf, txt, ePub) for downloads of over 1, 000 books, so this includes titles for Kindle or Amazon iPhone App users.


Picture Books on the Kindle

March 31, 2009

As more and more traditional print publications begin to discard the print model and publish digitally, it seems that the last type of publication purely in an analog format will likely be the picture book.

Holding up a large book with bright illustrations and the touch of the pages as you turn them. The sound of the simple words as you read them out loud. The feeling of the child in you lap leaning forward to take in the whole scene depicted, eyes wide and intent. These are essential parts of the picture book experience.

Unfortunately, these are exactly the parts that ebooks and ebook readers cannot duplicate. Color is not so much an issue anymore now that the flepia has come out (undoubtedly other readers will follow suit).

Today, Amazon is advertising Curious George books for the Kindle so I thought I would share some pics of how it looks.

split title page02

split title page01

There is something missing when you have to page over to see a picture that is meant to be viewed as one combined image.

this book belongs to

This is possibly the most jarring example of how picture book conversion to ebook format is problematic. How does your four-year old scrawl her name on the line?