It's Not About the Books

My title this week is a little provocative. I’m unconvinced of the imminent, or even eventual, complete death of all ‘dead tree’ publishing. Much, however, will move to electronic and just as we in wealthy nations say we live in a ‘post industrial’ economy even though there is plenty of industry happening in our countries, so too we will soon enough move to a ‘post paper’ publishing norm.

I find myself reading and talking a lot about ebooks lately. Librarians have been struggling to work out how to move from a system based on lending and storing physical information items (books, magazines, compact discs etc) to one based on lending electronic files (ebooks, audiobooks, music, video). The biggest problem we face is that treating an electronic file the same as a physical item is inherently nonsensical.

A cup of ocean

As I have noted previously, the physics of electronic…

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