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Empowering the Reader in a Digital World


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This TBLC-sponsored webinar was presented by Al Carlson and Chad Mairn on 5/26/2010. …

This TBLC-sponsored webinar was presented by Al Carlson and Chad Mairn on 5/26/2010.

It can be argued that reading habits have changed since electronic publications have become more prevalent in our growing digital world; however, library staff should remain focused and become informed advocates for their readers no matter what, why, and where they choose to read. Join Al Carlson and Chad Mairn as they discuss the intricacies of electronic publication formats and reading devices in order to help make everything involved in electronic reading more comprehensible to library staff, so that they can focus their efforts on their patrons’ reading and to not get stuck on the format or device where the reading takes place. They’ll help you figure out the relative strengths and weaknesses of today’s crop of e-reading devices and look ahead to what you’ll see within five years. Al and Chad don’t have all the answers, but they’ll help you start asking the right questions. Some examples: What should the library user who loves to read buy now? A Nook? An iPad? Something else?

Why should libraries provide e-reading opportunities? How should libraries provide e-reading opportunities without over-committing to technology that may turn out to be the equivalent of the BetaMax tape? What happens when advancing technology makes every gadget we own a potential e-reader? How do libraries deal with an enormous materials collection that can be accessed from anywhere but fits on a flash drive?

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  • Tell the Professor Cameron “What is a cup?” story to raise the question of what is an eBook and what is an eBook reader?
  • Is this a coffee cup?A broken cup?Part of a cup?A former cup?A pottery fragment?Let’s see what Aristotle would have said…Well, we’ll be exploring eBooks and eMagazines and eReaders in the same way.But we won’t ask Aristotle.Before we do that, though, let me tell you a story…
  • Once upon a time…
  • …every little girl wanted to be a blacksmith when she grew up.
  • So did most little boys. It was a good job. Not real high paying, but respectable. Important to the community. Everyone had horses. Everyone needed the blacksmith. It was a secure job, a job with a future. That was once upon a time.Still true? Not so much any more.
  • 33 and third record. Vinyl. LP.
  • Audiocassette tape
  • Videotape
  • Music CD
  • DVD movies
  • They required “players’ to work. They were hugely popular during their prime time. They came and went. We weren’t ready for them.They were not our primary service.What is our primary service or product?
  • BooksBooks that look like this are about to go into a decline that MAY BE as steep as that of vinyl and videocassettes.We’re at the edge of that hill now, and we don’t know for sure what’s ahead.So, today’s presentation is a look at POSSIBILITIES, not at certainties.
  • My motivation is that I don’t want these—libraries—to go the way of the videocassette and the eight track.I’ve worked in libraries since 1959—do the math—and I’ve grown fond of them. (That’s 51 years)
  • I also don’t want them to become quaint historical relics that remind people of the ‘good old days’ but are no longer important.Places you can visit on your vacation and see the authentic blacksmith and the cobbler and the librarian.
  • You might say this could never happen. Electronic gadgets come and go, but books have been around for hundreds of years….
  • Almost as long as blacksmiths.
  • When we think of eBooks, many of us focus on the eReader—the Kindle and its spinoffs.So, if these “eReaders” are so threatening to “real” books, what do we know about them?What do they look like?
  • Or you can play heavy metal music while you read Jane Eyre…Whatever floats your boat.
  • And let me remind you that it’s not done yet….
  • Instead of a Large Print collection, every eBook has Just Large Enough print.
  • So, let’s bring a few in for questioning and see what they look like.
  • Maybe this is non-dedicated?
  • Here’s why I added this one.How much does a smart phone cost if you don’t buy a contract?How much if you do buy a contract?Why wouldn’t Barnes and Noble give me a free reader—bonded to them like the Nook—if I signed a two year contract agreeing to buy a title a month?Does this make eReaders like cell phones where you now just assume someone has one unless they tell you that they don’t?
  • Note that the color covers don’t do much.
  • Athos, Porthos, and Aramis and the iPad as D’Artagnan
  • OLED technologyA film painted onto any surface.How far can we take this flexibility stuff?
  • So, skim through these.See anyone you recognize?
  • Can you do the same thing with a Nook and a Sony Reader?Yes?Can you download an app that let’s you read OverDrive downloadable eBooks on your PC?Yes?Are they apps for Droids and iPhones and Blackberries and Macs?Yes?Note: My netbook weighs the same as my paperback copy of Red Hat Linux Unleashed and less than my complete Guide to MS OfficeAnd what’s next??
  • Bjorn Borg or maybe Victor Borge
  • But don’t marry it. It will be an intense but short term romance.Your true love will appear next year with more RAM. And a richer, more vibrant screen.And longer battery life.OK. I have gone on long enough. Let’s hand it back to Chad.
  • Talk a little about DRM
  • Chad covered this earlier.To ‘read’ an eBook, you need a device that can handle the format and the DRM, and you need to be in compliance with the DRM.
  • We’re going to quickly look into—or speculate about—how quickly the public might shift from hard copy to ePub.There are two conflicting things that humans do that will play into this.Both of these factors will play into the adoption of eBooks.You may not ‘see’ it until you ‘believe’ it.But what happens when the book lover finds out that he can get the new Biography of Humphrey Davies at his local library “right now” or from B&N eBook “right now” or from OverDrive “right now”.What if it’s 10 at night?Have any of your friends with Kindles and Nooks told you that they just hate them?Now, let’s get out of speculation and into some ‘hard’ data.
  • Write down this title and Google it when you get back to work.It was written to help the DVD industry understand why their sales of players flattened after only six years.They thought the plateau meant they were doing something wrong.It turned out that they had done everything right.So right, in fact, that they had achieve ‘full’ market penetration about five years ahead of their original schedule.And faster than any ‘device’ had done before.Before they even thought of saying, “Are we there yet?”, they were there.
  • Note the slope of the curves.It took the PC 26 years to get a 30 per cent market penetrationNote that DVD is nearly verticalIt took it 3 and a half years.
  • This one shows market penetration at the end of 2005.Look at VCR. Look at DVDLook at MP3 player.Look at cell phone.Now let me say, “And this was less than five years ago!”And then let me say, “But that was almost five years ago!”What do you think the per cent for VCR’s is now? (Not counting the ones stored in the attic “just in case”)What about cell phones? MP3 players?My point is that technology does not move slowly any more.
  • Look at this, but pretend the red line is hard copy and the blue line is ePub.If this were 2001, what would you tell your library to buy more of? Less of?You may wonder why I’m showing you charts of DVDs and VHS when this session is about ePub.It’s because I can’t get at the report on hard copy vs ePub that will be published in 2015.If I had my time machine I’d do that.When I started thinking about ePub vs hard copy, the parallel to DVD and VHS came to mind, and I wanted to see if there were any clues that “would have” helped us see that transition, if we had known what to look for and whether any of those clues applied to us now.
  • Here’s one clue: speed of penetration.With a few exceptions, it gets faster every time.
  • Here’s another clue: the S-curve of technology adoption.Where are we on the curve now with ePub and eReaders?
  • [Spend some time on this.Do any of the issues that worked well for DVD’s not work for ePub?]Let’s look more closely at what affects the slope of the middle part of that S-curve.This looks boring, but stay with me. Not all the slides can be as sexy as the last few were.
  • Got that title jotted down?
  • And ask them for more via email, promising to share them back.Hand it over to Chad.
  • What Coplan did was look at the ‘life cycles’ of previous technological advances in terms of sales and market penetration.Here is a sample graph from the report—which, by the way, is quite short and is not as dull as it looks.What you see here is the VHS market—tapes and players.Now, with no other data that this chart, guess when DVD’s started to really take off as a home medium.Go ahead.
  • Text files gussied up into PDF’s and EPUBsInstant gratification machines; 24/7 revenue genearatorsStore a text file on a server, associate an ISBN with it, identify users/purchasers with some unique ID such as barcode and grant access just as we now do checkout.How soon? Somewhere between six minutes and 44 years.For libraries? A very different environment. Again, we don’t really know. We’re guessing. But we’d love to have you tweet your guesses to Chad.
  • Current state of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt in the publishing world.  Paucity of sources from which libraries can buy lendable downloadable titles.  (Lobby your vendors for more lendable ePub) Continuing evolution of devices that are devoted to ePub (Nook), well suited to ePub though not devoted (iPad), and workable for ePub although that is just one of many capabilities (Droid).  Some ways that library work and function will drastically change if and when ePub is the dominant publishing medium.  Ways to repurpose libraries in a “No more dead wood” environment.  (eGov and ePub eXpertise and community center).  Remind them that we don’t know how this will evolve, and urge them to pay attention in their own work.
  • The concepts you want to deliver are (in no particular order)ePub has a chance to make hard copy “dead meat”, not just dead wood.  But the never-arriving paperless office is a warning that it won’t happen overnight.  Although I now work with ONE filing cabinet drawerIt took DVD’s six years to penetrate the market.  ePub may not take as long, because any mobile device can be an eReader.  And you can ‘sync’ your books among them, so you can always pick up where you left off.ePub is about the reading, not about the devices.  The kindle and nook and sony are interesting tech toys and very nice tools for people who read a lot.  But the ‘real’ books are on the web site you got them from.The iPad may be a great eBook reader, but its focus in illustrated content.  Great for the 600’s and 700’s, but bulky for Fiction.All eReader devices are in early stages—crude and unfinished.  Any complaints that exist now about any given device will probably be resolved in a yearThere are lots of eReader makers, but the big ones now are Amazon, Sony, Barnes & Noble, and AppleThere are lots of epub formats, but the main ones are AZW, EPUB, and PDFYou also need to remember BMP, JPG, GIF and so onAnd MP3 and a few proprietary audio appsThe content creation chain (The what?  The who?) has not yet figured out how to function in an ePub world.  Pricing and distribution issues are up in the air.  Different models benefit different parts of the supply chain.Libraries need to find ways to stay in the game.  We are not inherently part of the ‘build a new world’ process the industry is going through and may have no inherent niche in the new one.  There’s OverDrive, NetLibrary (Ebsco owned now), and Ingram Digital.  Not a wide range.ePub changes the way we design, build, maintain, use, and staff our buildings.  Get them to list all the tasks that we do to keep wood books available.We DO need to learn to use the various eReaders—including PC’s—so we can help patrons.  They (patrons) never really figured out the card catalog.  They may be somewhat better with the online catalog.  But if we care about reading, we need to be able to help them with the new toys during the transition period.Note the increasingly rapid market penetration.Give them your guess of three years to full market penetration because of multiple devices we all have now anyway. Scare them. Distinguish between the device and the content.Explain DRM in simple terms Examine—with lots of input from them—the changes an ePub-dominant world makes for libraries. Give them a sense of the economic uproar going on and the need for libraries to proactively get into the game.Not that in an Amazon world, we do not exist at all.
  • Note the sources of free eBooks
  • Transcript

    • 1. Empowering the Reader in a Digital World
      Chad Mairn, St. Petersburg College
      Al Carlson, Tampa Bay Library Consortium
      The Webinar will start at 10 a.m.
      Using Twitter? Send questions to @cmairn
    • 2. Your ePub Guides
      Al Carlson
      Chad Mairn
      Please feel free to contact us if you would like to explore ePub and any other issues we’ve brought up today in a more intimate (GoToMeeting) setting. We’d be happy to do it!
      Using Twitter? Send questions to @cmairn
    • 3. Goals
      Provide a brief timeline and highlight the current state of the ePublications market.
      Distinguish between dedicated and non-dedicated eReaders.
      Highlight EPUB features and discuss what will and will not work on eReaders/mobile devices (Today is May 26, 2010).
      Discover what EPUB, DRM, and other acronyms mean for libraries?
      Learn how eTextbooks fit in to this emerging landscape.
      The book is dead, right? So, where should we go from here?
      Provide additional sources for free ePublications, eReader software, and more.
      Using Twitter? Send questions to @cmairn
    • 4. Brief Timeline
      ca. 1450’s Gutenberg printed a hundred or so Bibles and started a revolution (i.e., ideas began to spread).
      1970’s Project Gutenberg began digitizing books.
      ca. 1999 MP3 players appear and help transform the music industry. (Publishers can learn a lot from the mistakes of the recording industry, but they probably won’t and this is unfortunate!)
      ca. 2000 OverDrive began offering downloadable titles.
      NetLibrary was purchased by OCLC in 2002.’s Kindle debuts in 2007.
      Between 2009-2010 rumors of a new Apple Tablet are everywhere. This device is supposed to change everything! (More about this later …)
      NetLibrary was purchased by EBSCO in 2010.
      2010 will be the year for the eReader! (Chad’s opinion)
      For more detailed information regarding e-Book history, formats and more visit:
    • 5. The Current State of the Market and Where It Seems to Be Going …
      Changing every minute!
    • 6.
    • 7. Format Overview
      Text (.txt), HTML (.html or .htm), Kindle (.azw), Open eBook (.opf), Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf), DjVu (. djvu), Palm Media (.pdb), Mobipocket (.prc or .mobi), EPUB (.epub) …
      FYI: the NetLibrary Online Reader has 3 types of eBooks all requiring different software/plugins to function (.pdf, .html, and .djvu). HTML won’t allow users to copy/paste content. Adobe Content Server is required to download (i.e., check out) titles.
      For a comparison of eBook formats visit
      Will EPUB become the “official” standard format for eBooks now that the Apple iPad supports it? EPUB Support from list of Publishers: An Open Letter from AAP to IDPF.
      What should libraries be doing to manage this “alphabet soup” of formats?
    • 8. Transition
      Using Twitter? Send questions to @cmairn
    • 9. ePub and Libraries
      What is ePublication,
      and why should I care?
      What is an eReader,
      and do they bite?
    • 10. What is a cup?
    • 11. Is this a cup?
    • 12. Help WantedBlacksmithEnquire within
    • 13.
    • 14.
    • 15. Time to play“Name that format!”
    • 16.
    • 17.
    • 18.
    • 19.
    • 20.
    • 21. What do all of these have in common?
    • 22.
    • 23. Libraries
    • 24.
    • 25.
    • 26.
    • 27. What is a DedicatedeReader?
      Kindle—Three main models
      Nook—Android Platform
      Sony Reader—Several models, some with touch screens
      iPad—(Not so dedicated)
      Cool-ER, Kobo, Skiff, etc
    • 28. Dedicated eReaders
      All of them so far are single-purpose PC’s designed to ‘read’ one or more specific formats
      And to encourage shopping at “their” store
      (Not at the library)
      All of them read PDF; most read EPUB
      And most “read” MP3
      So a Nook can ‘read’ ePub books and ‘play’ audiobooks
    • 29. What’s so special about them?
      Reflective, not backlit (Outdoor reading)
      Long battery life (Tiny ping pong balls)
      Easy to read (Small and light)
      Boombox to iPod
    • 30. This…
    • 31. …became this
    • 32. Additional Special Stuff
      Adjust font and size
      Instant online purchase (or check-out?)
      Huge storage (1 book = < 1MB)
      Added features, such as music
    • 33. In a nutshell…
      They carried us past the “you can’t read a book for pleasure on a PC” barrier
      They are just fine in “bed, bath, and barcalounger”
    • 34. A few dedicated eReaders
    • 35. COOL-ER
    • 36. CopiaeReaders
    • 37. EnTourageeDGe
    • 38. IRiver Story
    • 39. Kindle 2 and Original Kindle
    • 40. Kindle 2 and Kindle DX
    • 41. Kindle in a cover
    • 42. Kobo eReader at $150
    • 43. Nook in a hand
    • 44. Nook in a cover
    • 45. Plastic Logic Que
    • 46. Plastic Logic Que
    • 47. Samsung Touch
    • 48. Sony Reader 01
    • 49. Sony Reader 02 in red
    • 50. Sony Reader in Hands
    • 51. Sony Reader in cover
    • 52. Sony Reader
    • 53. Skiff eReader
    • 54. Skiff eReader
    • 55. Skiff eReader
    • 56. What’s a non-dedicated eBook Reader?
      Desktop PC
      Laptop or Netbook
      iPod touch
      Whatever is next…
    • 57. Steve and his iPad
    • 58. Just the iPad
    • 59. Kindle for the PC
    • 60. The Borg 3000
    • 61. What do you gain and lose with a non-dedicated eReader?
      “Paper like” (reflective) reading
      Battery life (For now)
      Instant purchase gratification (Maybe)
      Light weight (In some cases)
      Does a Nook outweigh an iPhone?
      Swiss Army knife functionality
      Color and video (for now)
    • 62. Do you want a dedicated eReader?
      If you read a lot, yes, you do!
      Once you try one, you will fall in love, despite its shortcomings
      The ‘good’ is so good, that the ‘bad’ hardly matters
    • 63. Transition
    • 64. Some EPUB Features
      Free and open standard
      Re-flowable/re-sizable text
      Embedded metadata
      DRM support
      CSS styling
      Providing alternative versions in the same file
      For more information on EPUB visit:
    • 65. What devices are compatible with EPUB?
      List of devices/mobile phone applications that are compatible with Adobe's open, cross-platform (PDF and EPUB)
      ePub Reader Software Tested
      EPUB Support from list of Publishers: An Open Letter from AAP to IDPF.
    • 66. It is possible to select text, annotate it, and share it on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Who owns this supplemental content?
    • 67. Transition
      Using Twitter? Send questions to @cmairn
    • 68. How ePub Works(In Library terms)
      Create a “book” (a file)
      Give it a unique ID Number (e.g. an ISBN)
      Store it on a server in “the cloud”
      Create a “patron database”
      Associate the item ID with the Patron ID after payment is made
      Use DRM to prevent theft
    • 69. What’s DRM?
      Digital Right Management
      B&N bases it on credit card number
      Adobe uses PC’s MAC address x 6
      Overdrive uses Date/Time stamp
      Amazon uses a proprietary file type
      Apple uses “Fair Play”
      Others exist
    • 70. What about Format?
      PDF—the old Adobe standby
      EPUB—a new standard. “Flowable”
      TXT—What Notepad creates
      AZW—Amazon’s format
      Alphabet soup
      opf, tr2, chm, djvu, lit, pdb, pkg, mobi, etc.
    • 71. ePub and Human Nature
      Humphrey Davies and Nitrous Oxide
      44 years
      Calvin and Hobbes and the microwave
      Six minutes
      The hard cover book lover’s dilemma…
    • 72.
    • 73.
    • 74.
    • 75.
    • 76.
    • 77.
    • 78.
    • 79.
    • 80. How will ePub affect Public Libraries?
      Access—Web site becomes “the” library
      Delivery—Instant home delivery. No need to visit the library. Or wait.
      Overdues—Nope. Book self-returns when due
      Storage—Your entire collection fits on a one or two Terabyte hard drive
      Service area—Why have a ‘local’ library?
      What else….?
      Tweet those answers to Chad. He’s up next.
    • 81. Transition
      Using Twitter? Send questions to @cmairn
    • 82. Consider this eTextbook pricing breakdown …
      32.3% — Publisher’s paper, printing, and editorial costs
      15.4% — Publisher’s Marketing Costs
      11.6% — Author Income
      10.9% — College Store Personnel
      10% — Publisher’s General and Administrative Expenses
      7% — Publisher’s Income (after tax)
      6.8% — College Store Operations
      4.9% — College Store Income (pre-tax)
      1.1% — Freight Expenses
      32.3% (paper, printing) + 22.6% (college store) = 54.9% of the cost of textbooks. So, why aren’t we using eTextbooks?
    • 83. eTextbooks
      According to the 2010 Horizon Reportelectronic books will be widely adopted in college settings within two to three years.
      This adoption could finally allow for true mobile learning/computing (cf. 2010 Horizon Report’s “One Year or Less: Mobile Computing chapter).
      Early analysis of Amazon's Kindle DX: E-textbooks by Peter N. Glaskowsky.
      I hopefully will be conducting an eBook Reader and applications usability study at St. Petersburg College sometime this summer.
    • 84. Hardware vs. Content
      Does the “book” still matter?
      In Robert Darnton’sThe Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future he mentions that McLuhan’s 1962 prophecy that the printed word would become extinct thanks to the electronic age has not yet happened.
      Content is and will always be King! Libraries should probably strive to be device agnostic.
    • 85. Transition
      Using Twitter? Send questions to @cmairn
    • 86. According to Zorba’s Guide to Free Ebooksthere are five ways to find free ebooks:
      1. Use search engines;
      2. Set up RSS feeds;
      3. Visit your public library or university library;
      4. Visit web pages or directories with collections of free ebooks; or
      5. Visit any of the many free ebook websites. (Don’t forget TBLC’s resources!)
    • 87. Where do we go from here?
    • 88.
    • 89. Recap
      What are eBooks and eReaders?
      How do they work?
      How soon will they become the dominant form of publication?
      What could this mean for libraries?
    • 90. Transition
    • 91. Where do we go from here?
      FUD in the publishing world
      Few sources of ePub titles for libraries
      Need for ‘lobbying’ of vendors
      Continuing evolution of devices
      Dedicated and non-dedicated
      Staying in the game
      Managing change in our role
      ePub, eGov, eXpertise
    • 92. How do we stay in the game?
      OverDrive model
      Amazon model
      Apple iTunes model
      Ebsco NetLibrary model
      Other models
      Create a model now…
    • 93. Who do we buy from?
      That’s a pretty short list
      We need to lobby our current suppliers
      By ‘we’ I also mean ‘You!’
    • 94. What do we do with the empty shelf space?&How do we ‘repurpose’ staff
      eGov and the ‘stigma’ of food stamps
      Community ‘center’
      Library eXPERTISE
    • 95. Transition
    • 96. Final Recap
      Publishing FUD
      Technological change
      Human nature
    • 97. How can I learn more?
      Visit and look for “ePub Resources”
      Google “sources of free ebooks”
      Pay attention
    • 98. Relic of the Past
      Not a relic
    • 99. Chad’s Contact Information
      (727) 341.7181
      + 1 (727) 537.6405
      With your phone take a quick photo of this code and you’ll be directed to my mobile contact page. For the software, visit
    • 100. Al’s Contact Information
      Al Carlson
      System Administrator
      Tampa Bay Library Consortium
      813-622-8252 ext 237