Craig Mod on the value of being able to point at things.
This lack of platforminess is what makes many iPad magazine apps impotent. They end up in no better a position than a printed magazine. There are no routes by which you can directly get to their content. You can’t point in. You’re forced to go through the “front door” to get anywhere. And it’s a door usually weighing several hundred megabytes and infuriatingly difficult to unlock.
Craig Mod’s work has only recently come to my attention. I plan now to go back and read more of what he has written in the past.
The Information Activist has a few things to say about The Apple Way for Libraries (a Manifesto?).
I wanted to grab a snippet to give you a taste but if you work in libraries, you really should go and read the whole thing.
He says things like this:
Library’s need to regain control. Libraries need to have end-to-end products. We need to create a positive user experience, but without the ability to make necessary changes to a database, catalog, or other information resource, we simply cannot make the necessary changes.
If we have to teach classes on how to search, then maybe we need to pause and think. Are the systems being designed for the user, or do we design users for the system?
Not to mention this:
Remember patrons don’t need us anymore. In the past, distribution models and pricing caused a real need for us. Bookstore as we know them today, or knew them yesterday, did not exist like that. It used to be damn near impossible to get some books, especially in rural areas. Thomas Jefferson would wait up to 6 months for book to arrive from Europe. It’s now so easy and relatively cheap. Easy and fast beats free any day. And the notion that some can’t afford this stuff won’t care us forever. Instead we ought to focus on creating a want in our patrons for us. We do this through creating powerful user experiences. Experiences that we need to control, and we simply cannot do this in our current model.
Seriously, go and read it. You might not agree with everything, but I suspect you will find something to make you think long and hard about what your library is doing.
David Carr at The NYT:
The Justice Department finally took aim at the monopolistic monolith that threatened to dominate the book industry. So imagine the shock when the bullet aimed at threats to competition went whizzing by Amazon — which not long ago had a 90 percent stranglehold on e-books — and instead, struck five of the six biggest publishers and Apple, a minor player in the realm of books.
In the short term, stopping the agency model that threatened Amazon’s ability to completely own the market will result in lower ebook prices from Amazon. They can sell most of them at a loss until they do own the market. Then what?
This amazing Madrid sculpture series, by Spanish artist Alicia Martin, uses 5,000 books per installation to create stunning works of art. The effect is a waterfall of cascading books.
- The Wheeler Centre: Books, Writing, Ideas.
Charles Stross on why the big six publishers will kill DRM:
It doesn’t matter whether Macmillan wins the price-fixing lawsuit bought by the Department of Justice. The point is, the big six publishers’ Plan B for fighting the emerging Amazon monopsony has failed (insofar as it has been painted as a price-fixing ring, whether or not it was one in fact). This means that they need a Plan C. And the only viable Plan C, for breaking Amazon’s death-grip on the consumers, is to break DRM.
As with plenty of other people around the world, I’m very curious to see how this plays out. Unlike plenty of other people around the world, I don’t think I can predict it. But Stross put forward an interesting scenario.
There are a number of government funded programs around the world that give a free book to every child born in that region along with literacy information for the parents. Tennessee however have gone a step or two (or sixty) further:
Tennessee has an amazing program called Books From Birth or Imagination Library. The program provides every child in TN (if they sign up for the program) with a new book of their own, every month of the year, from birth through age 5. And it’s all FREE. Can you believe that? The books arrive in the mail, and it’s so much fun to find them waiting in our mailbox on each arrival day.
If you are interested in the present and future of libraries but aren’t reading what Hugh Rundle has to say, you are missing out on thoughts like this:
The real value of libraries is not the hardware. It has never been the hardware. Your members don’t come to the library to find books, or magazines, journals, films or musical recordings. They come to be informed, inspired, horrified, enchanted or amused. They come to hide from reality or understand its true nature. They come to find solace or excitement, companionship or solitude. They come for the software.
Do yourself a favour and go read the whole thing.