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26 Smirks:  eReading and Libraries
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26 Smirks: eReading and Libraries


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  • 1. 26 Smirks
    The Impact and Opportunities of the eReading Revolution on Libraries
    A talk given by Tom Peters on March 9, 2011
  • 2. Feb. 24, 2011
    HarperCollins announces, through OverDrive, that beginning on March 7, 2011, all HarperCollins ebooks sold to libraries will disappear after 26 circulations.
    Twitter hastag: #hcod
  • 3. What to do?
    Boycott HarperCollins
    Blame OverDrive
    Rant and Rave
    Shake Head and Wring Hands
    Blog, Tweet, etc.
    Continue to kowtow to the Big 6 Publishers
    Reinvent Libraries for the eReading Era
  • 4. This Is All Faintly Disturbing
  • 5. A Portable eBook Revolution is Underway Right Now
  • 6. Background to Action
    TECH TRAITS: What general traits are observable about how people react to tech revolutions?
    READING: What is reading, anyway?
    PORTABLE eREADING: What is the current situation of the portable eReading revolution in the U.S.?
    TAKE ACTION: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” Henry David Thoreau
  • 7. People and Tech Revolutions
    What can we learn from history?
  • 8. Revolutionary Fits and Starts
    Seventies: Paperless Office
    Late Nineties: Failed eBook Coup
    2001: Segway
  • 9. Amazing Revolutions Underway
    Global mobile phone revolution.
    5.3 billion mobile cellular subscriptions in 2010.
    76.2 subscriptions for every 100 pe0ple worldwide.
    Portable eReading revolution.
  • 10. When We Name a New Technology, We Project the Past into the Future
    Horse  Iron Horse
    Carriage  Horseless Carriage
    Phone  Smart Phone
    Book  eBook
    (Wordprocessing may be the exception that proves the rule. Why didn’t we call it eWriting?)
    These naming propensities help us in the short term, but hurt us in the long term.
  • 11. A Matter of Focus
    eBooks (content, file formats, DRM, etc.)
    eReaders (devices, screen tech, batteries, etc.)
    eDistribution (3G, 4G, wi-fi, bluetooth, etc.)
    eReaders (humans)
    eReading (a process; a human activity)
  • 12. Reading
    What do we know? Where is it headed?
  • 13. What Is Reading?
    • Gist of the Wikipedia Definition: A complex process of decoding symbols for the intention of deriving and/or constructing meaning.
    • My Tentative Definition: People interacting with texts, thus constituting a sensory, cognitive, and emotional experience that is complete, complex, and satisfying .
  • Reading as Sensory Intake
    • Visual Reading: printed on paper or digital
    • 14. Auditory Reading: analog or digital, prepackaged, downloadable, or streaming
    • 15. Tactile Reading: braille (printed or digital)*************************************
    • 16. Olfactory Reading: e.g., Olfactory Web
    • Gustatory Reading: Devouring a Good Book
  • Situational Reading
    Avocational(Reading for Pleasure)
  • 17. Portable eReading
    In the U.S., with or without Libraries
  • 18. U.S. Portable eReading
    U.S. represents approx. 75% of world market.
    Q3 2010: 2.7 million units shipped worldwide
    Worldwide in 2010: sales $1.9 billion (11 million units).
    Sources: and
    Software: Gobsof apps for netbooks, tablets, smartphones, gaming devices, desktops, etc.
    Content: U.S. trade wholesale ebook sales in Q3 2010 were almost $120 million.
  • 19. What Does This Portend for Libraries?
    New user expectations.
    New sources of content.
    New genres and formats.
    New services for individual readers & groups.
    New “competition” from non-library sectors.
    New skill sets for staff members.
  • 20. Portable eReadingin the U.S.: Now a 4-Horse Race?
    Amazon Kindle
    Apple iPad
    Barnes & Noble Nook Color
    Google eBooks (cloud reading)
  • 21. Mike Shatzkin’s New Big Six of North American eBook Distribution
    “Contendas”: Barnes & Noble, Copia, Blio (Feb. 19)
  • 22. Portable eReading and Libraries
    • Amazon Kindle (doesn’t exhibit at library conferences)
    • 23. Apple iPad (doesn’t exhibit at library conferences)
    • 24. Barnes & Noble (doesn’t exhibit at library conferences)
    • 25. Google eBooks (doesn’t exhibit at library conferences)
    • 26. OverDrive
    • 27. Adding more mobile apps
    • 28. Adding content
    • 29. Simplifying the circ process
    • 30. Certifying devices as library-model-friendly
    • 31. Using the same DRM system as Google eBooks
    • 32. Blio (Baker &Taylor, Kurzweil, and NFB)
    • 33. Launched (to end-users running MS OS) on 9/28/10.
    • 34. Library-lending module sometime in 2011
  • eBook Lending Services (formerly (still in private beta), powered by
  • 35. Who and What is at Risk?
    If portable eReadingbecomes an unbundled, commercial enterprise serving individual readers, the at-risk groups include:
    Have Nots
    Students, Scholars, and Researchers
    Voracious Readers
  • 36. Consider All PP ICE Devices
    • PP ICE = Personal, Portable Information, Communication, Entertainment
    • 37. Mobile Phones
    • 38. Dedicated eReading Devices
    • 39. Portable Music/Media Players
    • 40. Netbooks
    • 41. Tablet Devices
    • 42. Portable Gaming Devices
    • 43. Devices for Kids
  • Future of Devices and Libraries
    For millennia (until about last year) libraries had to be in the device business.
    From now on, most (but not all) library users will provide their own PP ICE’s.
    Implications for the right of first sale.
    See (Feb. 12)
    Libraries will be free to concentrate on content, services, and communities.
  • 44. Librarians Move Boldly into the eReading Era
    How to overcome our fears and anxieties concerning the future of public libraries in the mobile eReading era?
  • 45. Understand the Stakeholders
    Agents, Rights Holders, and other Inscrutables
    Library vendors
    IT companies
  • 46. Action is Needed, but What Type is Not Self-Evident
    Painting, mowing, and shoveling snow produce immediate, discernible results.
    Libraries need to undertake “murky work” for continued success in the eReading era.
  • 47. Action Plan: General Strategy
    Gain experiential knowledge of the various portable eReading experiences.
    Imagine how existing library services and new ones could enhance these experiences.
    Beef up the collection of eBooks.
    Streamline the process for the user.
    Pay attention to all stakeholders, but focus on readers and authors.
  • 48. What You Can Do Later Today
    Get Thee to a Tech Petting Zoo: Pick up these devices and play with them.
    Download some free eReading software and content to your PP ICE of choice.
    Begin at least one complete portable eReading experience.
    Read and talk about this portable eReading revolution with friends, family, colleagues.
  • 49. Library Call to Action
    Individually, Libraries must:
    Become actively engaged in market developments
    Work on building up our eBook collections
    Sweat the details: eReading is a complete thing
    Collectively, Libraries must:
    eReader Bill of Rights
    Develop a library-friendly PP ICE?
    Federal legislation to protect and promote the library lending model for digital content?
    Community Publishing Platform
  • 50. eReader Bill of Rights: Just One Plank…
    The reader controls how a book is experienced as a sensory experience.
    Not authors
    Not rights holders
    Not publishers
    Exhibit A: The tussle over the text-to-speech function on the Kindle.
  • 51. What Are Library Orgs Doing?
    COSLA Study (first half of 2010)
    ALA Office of Info Technology Policy eBook TF (first half of 2011)
  • 52. COSLA Report on Portable eReading and Public Libraries
    Consolidate/leverage Pub Lib purchasing power
    Consolidated access point for Pub Lib content
    Develop a device certification process
    Document how Public Library use contributes to a culture of reading (and book buying)
    Help local authors. Support self-publishing
    More leadership about reading’s future
    Public Libraries as labs for new reading experiences
  • 53. Dive Into the eReading Revolution
  • 54. Thank You for Your Time and Attention
    Tom Peters
    Founder and CEO
    TAP Information Services
    Twitter: TAPintoIT
    FB: Thomas A. Peters