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Digitizing Books

Barnes and Noble's Nook Steps into the Ring with Kindle

The Amazon Kindle's first real competitor saw the light of day for the first time this week, and it looks very, very impressive. The Barnes & Noble Nook launched Oct 20th, and it stands toe-to-toe with the standard that has been set by the Kindle, even exceeding it in many ways. The important...

Cheapskate

I’m a cheapskate and proud of it.  If I can get something I want or need with little or no out-of-pocket expense, I can ignore the resulting flurry of ads and give sales callers a virtual karate chop with the best of them.  So, when I became aware that Chris Anderson has a new book out, published on July 7, called Free: The Future of a Radical Price, that was available for free (...

I <3 my Kindle

In the past year or so, there has been considerable discussion here in libraryland about ebook readers. Still, the actual personal ownership of them is still reasonably low. So we don't have a lot of actual user feedback on how people like the devices, what they find useful, and what users really experience when reading on one. I thought I'd make an attempt to remedy that as much as one...

Wooden Dominoes

Yesterday Princeton University announced it has joined Google's mass digitization project, adding another million volumes to the maw. I reckon people will begin speculating what former president (of both Princeton and the U.S.) Woodrow Wilson would have made of Princeton's participation in Google's project. At least the speculative heat will be off Thomas Jefferson for awhile, who was invoked by...

Microsoft's Live Search Books

After playing around for an hour or so with the recently released public beta version of Microsoft's Live Search Books (LSB), I have to admit—against some vague sense that my better judgment is failing me—that I like it. Sure, others have reported that LSB does not work well—or at all—when using browser software other than Internet Explorer, but if you stick to the straight-and-narrow Microsoft...

Feeling the Curb in Monterey

Last Sunday I traveled out to California to attend the Internet Librarian Conference—ITI's tenth, my first. I managed to fly to San Jose with nary a directional question, then took a shuttle bus past fields of artichokes and garlic, and dry brown hills mad in the October sun, down to Monterey on the coast. Monterey certainly has continued its upward drift in the twenty-five years since I last...

Wowio: It All Ads Up

Wowio, an LLC based in York, Pennsylvania, recently launched a free downloadable e-book service. The company's collection at launch is pretty sparse, but it does include both public domain and copyright-protected e-books. During my first use of the collection, I downloaded both The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—if for no other reason than to relish Emmeline Grangerford's mournful Ode to Stephen...

UC Libraries Join the Google Books Library Project

Soon after Google announced in late 2004 the collaborative project—currently called the "Google Books Library Project," involving the five research libraries of Stanford, Michigan, Harvard, Oxford, and the New York Public Library—to scan millions of books, the five libraries became known as the "G5 Group."When the G5 Group was mentioned in conversations among librarians, often there was at least...

Mammoth Mammonistic Snippets

Just when we thought it was safe to return to the snippet-infested digital content pool, HarperCollins came along and launched today its own snippet-dangling service that tries to lure readers, especially "young-adult readers" (is that phrase becoming an oxymoron?) to buy more books (primarily) and read more (coincidentally).Because Amazon has already staked a claim to the phrase "Search Inside...

It's Too Darn Hot: A Curmudgeon's Asides

This week it's hot as a pistol across the United States, and as I sit in my office without A/C, a feeble fan drying the sweat on my face, I'm grumpy. Grumpy enough to line up a few peeves against the wall and slap them around.Open-source softwareYes, I know, open source is a saint and you'd let your sister or brother marry it. But I hate the idea that for some librarians if a particular software...

Left to Their Own Devices

Two news items that scurried across my attention in July have led me to conclude that, in this era of overlapping eras, we have entered yet another age. The first item was an industry report that Apple shipped more than eight million iPod devices in the second quarter of 2006. That's almost three million per month or 100,000 per day, and the second quarter is not a big gift-giving quarter,...