Interesting Pair of Articles in the NYT today on Ebooks

First, their article on ebook loans and traditional publishers. Here.

Have to say, a couple of poorly constructed arguments here. This one would make more sense if instead of using a tempus fugit point, he just emphasized the inconvenience side, which he’s already mentioned:

To keep their overall revenue from taking a hit from lost sales to individuals, publishers need to reintroduce more inconvenience for the borrower or raise the price for the library purchaser. If making the books more costly to libraries seems a perverse idea, consider that the paperback edition of a book provides an artificially costly experience for its buyers too, in terms of waiting time. The delay in the paperback’s availability permits the publisher to separate those book buyers willing to pay a premium to read the book earlier from those only willing to pay less for what is essentially the same thing, but later.

This, though, is the most interesting part to me in this article.

While many major publishers have effectively gone on strike, more than 1,000 smaller publishers, who don’t have best-seller sales that need protection, happily sell e-books to libraries. That means the public library has plenty of e-books available for the asking — no waiting.

Making those lesser-known books available to patrons renews libraries’ primary function: offering readers a place for discovery.

Which means, for ereaders who make use of library loans, smaller epresses are making more of an in road on new readership. Will be interested to see how this plays out over the next year.

Then, in their bits commentary, they have this article about “enhanced print books”.

The author of the article seems to me to be making a mountain out of a molehill. This publisher is reprinting books, *most* already  in the public domain, in stripped down versions, and including a link to a page where they’ve set up background information on the book. Um, how does this ‘reconcile warring factions’? When did showing people that they can use the web to research the time/place/milieu of the book become a revolutionary idea? Um, tenth grade english anyone? Yes, they have amalgamated the information, which is indeed very convenient. However I fail to see how this forms a ‘bridge’ for those people who have become set against reading books in anything other than paper form. There seems to be a basic, and faulty, assumption that using the internet is synonymous with using an ereader. Nowhere near the same thing. Getting people to visit a website is not the same as drawing their interest to ebooks, much as the writer is trying to force the argument to fit the point.