Libraries That Need To Print And Then Rescan Ebooks Just To Lend Them

from the thank-you-copyright dept

The folks over at Against Monopoly have pointed out a rather ridiculous situation that has come about thanks to the restrictions that some publishers are putting on ebooks that are offered to libraries. With regular books, once a library has purchased the book, it can lend it to other libraries to pass on to patrons with no problem, but thanks to the restrictions placed on ebooks, such things are not allowed. So if a library wants to do an inter-library loan on an ebook, it's forced to print out the ebook, scan it back into a computer and then send the scanned copy to another library. For something that's supposed to be a lot more efficient, it would appear that the ebook, thanks to publisher restrictions, is actually a lot more troublesome.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2008 @ 11:03pm

    Not quite...

    So if a library wants to do an inter-library loan on an ebook, it's forced to print out the ebook, scan it back into a computer and then send the scanned copy to another library.

    Follow and read the link given in the Against Monopoly article. The library doesn't have to scan the article, it is also allowed to send the actual printed article to the other library. What the library with the on-line subscription is apparently not allowed to do is to directly hook up other libraries to that on-line subscription.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    buckykat, 6 Mar 2008 @ 12:57am

    um, AC, that's not a whole lot better. besides, you're missing the point. the point is that these restrictions are unnecessary and burden down a useful technology until it becomes useless. the only time i've seen ebooks done right is at baen's online library. everyone else would do well to learn from them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2008 @ 9:27am

      Re:

      um, AC, that's not a whole lot better. besides, you're missing the point.

      The point of that comment was that things aren't quite the way Mike described them. And they aren't, are they?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    zcat, 6 Mar 2008 @ 1:18am

    ORLY?

    It does actually say it has to be 'printed' and them 'mailed, faxed or transmitted via Ariel (which would imply scanned back in, since it's now PRINTED on PAPER).

    Actual quote (bold added):
    --------
    The licensor grants the subscriber the right to use articles from subscribed content in the case of ScienceDirect as source material for interlibrary loans subject to the following conditions:

    * The ILL request comes from an academic or other non-commercial, non-corporate research library located in the same country as the subscriber.

    * The requested article is printed by the subscriber and mailed, faxed or transmitted by Ariel (or a similar ILL system) to the requesting library. "

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2008 @ 9:35am

      Re: ORLY?

      It does actually say it has to be 'printed' and them 'mailed, faxed or transmitted via Ariel (which would imply scanned back in, since it's now PRINTED on PAPER).

      ORLY. Just exactly how does "mailed" imply FORCED TO SCAN?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2008 @ 10:18am

        Re: Re: ORLY?

        Because the means of sending the text are both electronic so the data would need to be scanned by some means. I did not read the whole article but what would stop them from "Printing" to a .pdf

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2008 @ 3:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: ORLY?

          Because the means of sending the text are both electronic so the data would need to be scanned by some means.

          Uh, I hate to tell you this genius but mail isn't electronic. "Mail" is different from "e-mail" in that way.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    zcat, 6 Mar 2008 @ 1:30am

    So..

    The point I think we're trying to make here is that the text in question is in a very convenient electronic form. Even a few thousand pages of text is still a tiny file. It would be really efficient, easy and sensible to send the ebook as an email attachment, but instead the library is expected to use up a whole lot of paper and toner printing it out and then either scan it in again, or send the bulky pile of paper through the post.

    Why? Probably because the publisher wants it to be difficult, to discourage sharing of the text I guess.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yottabyte, 6 Mar 2008 @ 3:46am

    Freight

    So, the point of having it as an ebook in the first place is... saving shipping costs?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2008 @ 5:08am

      Re: Freight

      No, I imagine they'd argue it's to save shelf space. You know, because libraries are so over-crowded with physical books. eBooks allow whole stacks to be store virtually and printed out at your leisure (and expense).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gutenberg/LibriVox Fan, 6 Mar 2008 @ 5:03am

    Simple Solution

    - Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org), LibriVox (librivox.org) and The Wayback Machine (www.archive.org, http://www.archive.org/details/audio, http://www.archive.org/details/texts).
    - The best that humanity has created, for hundreds of years, is available for the cost of a download, at the above sources.

    - IMHO, Libraries could augment their budget and popularity by preparing CD's (for loan or sale) with content from the above sources.

    - Skip the modern stuff. Let only the wealthy buy and see if the authors/publishers can financially survive in that niche.
    - For the rest of us, wait until time sorts out which modern stuff is trash and which will be classic literature.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous of Course, 6 Mar 2008 @ 6:35am

    Kill More Trees

    Kill more trees, they produce carbon dioxide
    under the stealth of darkness and I would
    rather have the printed copy of the text.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ryan, 6 Mar 2008 @ 6:39am

    Why not

    What would be the ultimate solution (I think) would be to have ONE repository for libraries to go to for e-book subscriptions AND make it affordable. The ebook should make it so that the Inter Library Loan mechanism goes away for e-books anyway.

    I can only assume the problem is that there are SO MANY e-book subscription places that the total price becomes prohibitive.

    One repository, one price (a decent one too).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Evil Mike, 6 Mar 2008 @ 6:57am

      Re: Why not

      What a great idea, that way if something happens to that one repository; all libraries are out of luck!

      It'll make stopping ebooks very simple.

      Yess... do that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon Coward, 6 Mar 2008 @ 7:29am

    Re: Why not by Evil Mike

    One repository does not necessarily mean one server in one location.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Blake Walter, 6 Mar 2008 @ 8:55am

    A librarian's response

    Thanks for noting what is a constant source of irritation for librarians -- trying to make the change between old models of strictly print-based services to new models of working with electronic resources . . . without breaking copyright laws. If you're interested, I have a longer rant available here: http://theologicallibrarianship.blogspot.com/2008/03/ongoing-ebook-morass.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    just some random guy, 6 Mar 2008 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: ORLY?

    > I did not read the whole article but what would stop them
    > from "Printing" to a .pdf

    Or printing it out, scanning it back in, doing OCR on the scanned version, then emailing a nice pristine ascii file of the text...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    zcat, 6 Mar 2008 @ 10:33am

    OK, OK..

    Yes, I admit they can send the stack of printed paper through the mail. Still it would make a lot more sense to send ebooks via electronic means. It's a stupid requirement that undoes most of the advantage of having the text in ebook format in the first place.

    I wonder if 'printing to pdf' would still be considered printing? They don't actually say that it has to be printed onto dead trees..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DKat, 7 Mar 2008 @ 12:20pm

    Copying vs. Lending

    It seems to me the problem is that if sent electronically, it would be a copy of the paid for subscription file. It would be similar to the library exactly reproducing and redistributing a paper book which they cannot exactly today. They send the actual book. There is still only one copy.
    I think the best way for them to handle the situation, stay electronic and yet reduce the copying is to assign each book per subscription with a unique serial number. When the library wants to load it out to another library from a subscription, they loan the serial number so there is still one copy only (as in the first library cannot use it until they get it back from the second). It has to be "checked" out from the subscription service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joel Coehoorn, 7 Mar 2008 @ 12:33pm

    Feed Error

    This just showed up in my feed for the 2nd time. Kinda funny there's a problem with the feed on the same day you talk about having your own custom CMS ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zack, 7 Mar 2008 @ 12:40pm

    Easier Method

    It's possable to print to a "Driver" that creates an E-BOOK so no paper or scanning is nessacary

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RofMax, 7 Mar 2008 @ 12:54pm

    What? NOT add more shelves?

    Surely there's a law or a union rule somewhere that requires a certain amount of shelf space per book.

    I mean - what was Featherbedding all about if it wasn't assuring that technology didn't destroy everything we've worked for. If libraries don't grow, what will the workers do that would have built the new ones? What about the workers that built shelves? And bookmarks! And what about the workers that pushed the carts down the stacks reshelving books? All you technologists thinks about is 'destroy destroy.'

    Oh, forgot to mention that I'm from California, the state where public employee unions have greatly aided in creating the biggest state budget deficit of any state in world history!

    OK now with that out of my system, I agree that printing to PrimoPDF or some other .xyz to .pdf utility should solve this problem. The Elsevier policy specifically allows email (Ariel or similar system).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2008 @ 12:26am

      Re: What? NOT add more shelves?

      The Elsevier policy specifically allows email (Ariel or similar system).

      And regular mail too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Huge Selection Of Ebooks, 24 Aug 2008 @ 12:48pm

    Yes this does seem a little ridiculous ... I wouldn't want to do all that work. It seems this would discourage libraries from buying ebooks altogether.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.