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Above the Fold

A weekly newsletter for the changing world of libraries, archives and museums

November 24, 2010
Vol. 3, No. 41
ISSN: 1943-1457

In this issue:


The Ubiquitous Book  (External site)

Humanities   •  September/October 2010

Power of the book. If you don't have time to read to all five volumes of the A History of the Book in America series (University of North Carolina Press), check out this recap of volumes four and five (1880-present) for an inspiring reminder of the major role books have played in our cultural, religious and political legacy.

Here in the US we're celebrating our Thanksgiving holiday. Unconsciously this issue of ATF seems to have echoed the holiday around a pattern of gratitude for the book. This article might actually substitute for reading those volumes of the history of the book or inspire you to actually dive in. ( Michalko)


Why the Book Business May Soon Be the Most Digital of All Media Industries  (External site)

paidContent.org   •  November 8, 2010

Slippery slope. Forrester Research predicts that this will be the year the ebook market hits close to $1 billion, and analyst James McQuivey suggests the digitization of the industry will move much more quickly than music or video: " . . . This dramatic reversal will have happened faster in book publishing than in any other media business. Not just because publishers have had years to watch other media industries face the digital transition, but also because book publishing is a single-revenue business."

So the book doesn't go away, it becomes digital and that happens fast. Forrester Research findings need to be taken seriously. Their conclusion about the rapidity of the transition echoes what many of us in OCLC Research have been saying in our presentations. Lorcan has said it in various venues. I say it here ( ppt). And Constance says it here ( ppt). For the librarians among you, think about the rapidity of the switch from paper journals to e-journals. If the switch to ebooks happens at the same rate it means that libraries will be spending 70% of their book budgets on ebooks by 2015. ( Michalko)


Paying Publishers to Set Their Content Free  (External site)

Copyright and Technology   •  November 9, 2010

Unsticking the wicket? Publishers are sitting on a mountain of "backlist" content, and one idea to pry it free is something called GlueJar—a system where publishers identify titles they're willing to liberate and users contribute funds until the threshold amount is reached. The work is then made available to all contributors' ebook reader libraries and in repositories used for online public library access. To sweeten the deal, publishers could elect to retain rights to print-on-demand and derivative sales. It's an interesting suggestion for resolving a vexing issue.

This is an Eric Hellman idea described in his blog. You can read the full entry there or content yourself with this summary. Perhaps we are so grateful for our books that we will pay to set them free. ( Michalko)


Publishers, Libraries & Booksellers Await Supreme Court Decision in Key Copyright Case  (External site)

Publishers Weekly   •  November 10, 2010

Booksellers beware. A Supreme Court case over imported wristwatches may have significant implications for would-be sellers of foreign-produced used books or other media. The case hinges on the "doctrine of first sale"—does it protect a buyer's ability to resell a copyrighted work, regardless of where the work was printed or recorded?

Apparently we can love our books, but only if they originate in the country in which they are sold . . . ( Michalko)


Little Black Books  (External site)

Print   •  October 2010

Of note. Serious writers and artists have been using Moleskine notebooks for decades, and the company is now making a foray into the digital world with a Kindle version and a future iPhone app for sharing text and drawings via social networks. Meanwhile, click through for a paean to the joys of old-fashioned pen and paper.

And we love our books even if they are blank (and the product of a mythic marketing campaign). Full disclosure: I take all my notes in a leather-bound paper book using a pencil but have never owned a Moleskine. ( Michalko)


Above the Fold Quiz:

According to a news item in this week's Above the Fold, how many videos are currently available on the OCLC Research YouTube Channel?

Click here for the answer.


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Above the Fold is a Web-based newsletter published by OCLC Research. It has been developed to serve a broad international readership from libraries, archives and museums. News items are supplied weekly under contract by Suzanne Douglas, Ibis Communications Inc. Research items are supplied by staff in OCLC Research. Please send comments and questions about this or other issues to rlg@oclc.org.
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