Library of America

Libraries Designed without Old-Fashioned Books, for New-Fashioned Readers
March 17, 2014

The new public library on San Antonio’s south side is missing something that once seemed unthinkable: books.

The south central Texas city’s completely digital library, known as the BiblioTech, lets Bexar County readers check out up to five books at a time on their devices from home or wherever they are. Military personnel can even download the latest bestseller from Afghanistan.

No device? No problem.

Locals can check out tablets or e-readers for free. Or they can use the library’s 48 iMAC desktop computers.

Read more here:

eBooks vs. Print: Actually A Nonissue
December 27, 2013

When I picked up the current Scientific American my eye was immediately drawn to the cover line, "Google Is Changing the Way You Think." Given the sensationalist tone that often accompanies explorations of how Internet use affects cognition, the article was a measured summation of studies that indicate a) we often go online to answer questions we used to ask friends and b) relying on the Internet for information we or our friends used to remember means while we have access to more information than ever, we know less.

The Library World Decoded by a “Newbie”
July 10, 2013

Roy M Carlisle recently attended his first American Library Association (ALA) national convention in Chicago as a library science student and scholarly book publisher. Surprisingly, he finds out that being a book editor for 36 years did not prepare him for the astonishingly complex and diverse world of libraries in the U.S. Everyone from Oliver Stone to Barack Obama pays homage to this national institution and there are a million reasons why. And wait until you hear about the Digital Public Library of America: now we know the future is here! Here is Roy’s extensive and insightful ALA report.

Philip Roth Says He's Written His Last
November 9, 2012

While you were pondering your happy hour plans on Friday, the Associated Press reported that literary lion Philip Roth is hanging up the quill, having spilled the news in October to French publication Les inRocks.

“Némésis sera mon dernier livre,” said Roth of Nemesis, his latest and allegedly last novel. He added, and our French is a little rusty here, that, essentially, he's happy with what he's done, but he's tired of reading and writing fiction and doesn't think further works will significantly impact his legacy.

Friends and writers seem skeptical that he's actually finished. —Brian Howard


Amazon’s zapping of customer’s Kindle library shows why we need library-provided ‘content lockers’
October 22, 2012

What if Amazon wiped out all your Kindle books and refused to let you open another account? I don’t know what if any sins a customer committed, but such an Orwellian scenario is said to have actually happened. No, I’m not just talking about the remote deletion of 1984, but rather the mysterious zapping of the customer’s entire Kindle library.

The most likely scenario here, as guessed at by BoingBoing, is that the Norwegian customer simply lived outside of the territories for authorized purchases.

A Google Book Deal Is Good for Everyone—Except Maybe Amazon
October 9, 2012

It’s possible there was some cheering at Google (GOOG) last week, when the search giant announced a deal with the Association of American Publishers over its book-scanning project. But it’s more likely there was just an overwhelming sense of relief, since the deal amounts to a truce in what has been a grueling seven-year battle. For almost a decade now, Google has been trying to scan and digitize as many books as it can, but it’s been stymied by lawsuits from the AAP and the Authors Guild, who claim the scanning process amounts to copyright infringement.

Google Books Deal Bolsters Dream of Universal Bookstore
October 8, 2012

Google’s deal to settle a seven-year conflict with five major publishers over the search giant’s book-scanning initiative is a milestone in the publishing industry’s grinding transition from print books to e-books. The pact, struck by Google and the Association of American Publishers (AAP), does not address the underlying question of whether Google violated copyright law by scanning millions of books over the last several years. Both sides, apparently weary of legal wrangling, have agreed to disagree on that point. The deal also doesn’t affect an ongoing lawsuit filed against Google by the Authors Guild, which represents thousands of authors.

ALA’s gripes to publishers dance around the e-library world’s Problem #1—not enough money for e-books
September 25, 2012

I’m still borrowing e-books from public libraries. I loved the digital edition of the late Louis Auchincloss’s memoirs that popped up when I was browsing the electronic stacks of a library system near me here in Northern Virginia.

Public libraries at their best can be Serendipity Central.

But I rely much less these days on library books than before. Too often, some major e-books are AWOL from library collections or, as documented earlier this year by the Washington Post, have long waiting lists.

Exercises in Democracy: Building a Digital Public Library
May 6, 2012

Most neighborhoods in America have a public library. Now the biggest neighborhood in America, the Internet, wants a library of its own. Last week, Ars attended a conference held by the Digital Public Library of America, a nascent group of intellectuals hoping to put all of America's library holdings online. The DPLA is still in its infancy — there's no official staff, nor is there a finished website where you can access all the books they imagine will be accessible. But if the small handful of volunteers and directors have their way, you'll see all that by April 2013

Revived Google Books Case Chugs Onwards
May 3, 2012

More than a year after Judge Denny Chin blew up an epic settlement agreement, Google and the Authors Guild are back in court today.

The Guild is suing its former partner for scanning books without permission while a group representing photographers is also appearing before Chin to press copyright claims of its own.

At today’s hearing the Authors Guild is set to ask Chin to confirm that the country’s writers can sue together. Google is opposing the request while also seeking to throw out the Authors Guild and photographers’ complaints altogether.