Hi Jack:

I think we'll eventually get to a lot of print-on-demand stuff. Most people find reading book-length 
text impractical on any sort of "screen." It seems like the big stick in the mud right now is the 
copyright laws in the US keep so much stuff limited-access for so long. However, publishers may wake 
up to a model somewhat akin to iTunes -- you buy an out-of-print text online and go to your local 
Kinkos or someplace similar to pick up a printed copy. Binding and storage then becomes your 
problem. I've seen articles indicating this is profitable at about a $10 per book price point, but 
one stumbling block would be scanning anything pre-computers -- in other words when does the 
scanning expense get justified? I read, I think in the same article, that it could be justified in 
as few as 100 copies sold. But, how many out of print books would sell 100+ copies in a reasonable 
timeframe (ie 12 months)? I'd wager it would be a somewhat small percentage but still a huge number 
of books.

One interesting point of view on this is "The Long Tail" by Chris Anderson. I don't happen to agree 
with all of Anderson's arguments, and Lee Gomes of the Wall Street Journal, among others, have 
presented some very strong counter-data, but some of what Anderson says is true and some of his 
predictions might happen. And hey, as far as I know, it 's still out and widely available in printed 
book form ;).

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jack Palmer" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 2:04 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Digitizing libraries--was: Clarifying the MAM-A gold comment

>I don't expect to be around by the time libraries issue digital books on disc, or some format, for 
>people to read on their computers.  I am not looking forward to digital libraries.  I hate reading 
>anything longer than e-mail on a computer.  I prefer a real book.  I even print out material sent 
>via e-mail rather than read it on line.    I love books and wound hate to see them ever disappear. 
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Daniel G. Epstein" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 11:24 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Digitizing libraries--was: Clarifying the MAM-A gold comment
>> On Tue, Dec 12, 2006 at 11:59:19PM -0500, Steven C. Barr(x) wrote:
>>> If this implies what I suspect it gets me thinking about a
>>> further possibility! Since sound files for the most part start out in
>>> digital form...and image files (as well as possibly text files, such
>>> as books...!) can be converted to digital files by scanning... how
>>> long will it be before libraries are converted to institutions with
>>> huge multi-disc servers, and clients can access the contents either
>>> using monitors at the "library" or by downloading (onto a digital
>>> medium...possibly DVD-R...?) the desired item, in digital form, for
>>> later use. There would be a lot of monetary details to be worked out
>>> (or special short-lifespan media would have to be used...?)...but
>>> think of how much space would be saved, as well as an end to worrying
>>> about the lifespan of the artifacts themselves!
>> Something that has been interesting me recently is the MythTV
>> <> open source DVR project and the possibility for
>> setting up a centralized media server in a reference library with their
>> audio and video collections stored on a disk array. Patrons could sit
>> at viewing stations like you mention and view their media "on-demand."
>> However, what is really interesting is the bootable Linux CDs that
>> are designed to act as MythTV clients.  With these, the library could
>> provide discs for checkout which would allow clients to boot their
>> laptops to a customized media client application without installing
>> anything on their own machines.  These discs could even be configured to
>> deal with some of the licensing and access issues that would come up in
>> such an environment.
>> Cheers,
>> Dan
>> -- 
>> A boast of "I have beens,"   | Daniel G. Epstein
>> quoted from foolscap tomes,  | Audio Engineer
>> is a shadow brushed away     |
>> by an acorn from an oak tree | Rootlike Technologies, Inc.
>> or a salmon in a pool.       |
>> GnuPG public keys available from