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DRM Media News

eBook Lending Library Launched 145

Posted by samzenpus
from the be-your-own-librarian dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Open Library has launched an eBook lending program. Patrons of this Internet Archive-led group of libraries may borrow up to five books at a time, for up to two weeks. Like print books, the eBooks may be on loan only to one patron at a time. The organization perceives this model providing more bang for the libraries' bucks. The books are mostly 20th-century titles. Some librarians have books that are too fragile or rare for lending and will scan them for eBook lending."
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eBook Lending Library Launched

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  • by vlm (69642)

    Patrons of this Internet Archive-led group of libraries may borrow up to five books at a time, for up to two weeks. Like print books, the eBooks may be on loan only to one patron at a time. ..... The books are mostly 20th-century titles.

    So... its basically Project Gutenberg with added DRM?

    • by tanders (2002292)
      And I thought the days of Advertising on ./ were behind us..
      • by Ancantus (1926920)

        And I thought the days of Advertising on ./ were behind us..

        When did you start thinking that? A few hours ago?

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Not exactly. It looks like a competitor to the Overdrive system many libraries use. Overdrive is a sharepoint-like portal that delivers DRM'd ebooks (usually PDFs) to library patrons. Its kinda kludgy but popular and the defacto standard for this kind of thing.

      Gutenburg is only public domain books, this system would deliver purchased ebooks and most likely apply its own DRM like Adobe's PDF DRM. If it didn't use DRM the library using it would most likely get in some kind of trouble.

      Oh well, anything that co

      • by Fizzol (598030)
        It's not a competitor to Overdrive at all since its non-PD loans go through Overdrive.
      • by iamhassi (659463)
        It looks like a competitor to the Overdrive system many libraries use."

        That's exactly what I was thinking. My local library uses Overdrive [overdrive.com], and I've downloaded many new audio books to my ipod from the comfort of my home for completely free.

        But thanks to this article I found out that Overdrive offers an iPhone app so I can download books and audio straight to my phone. [wsj.com] This is great! They even made a video explaining how it works. [youtube.com]

        They also have an Android version [overdrive.com] and here's a video by a user. [youtube.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward

      To be fair, library lending has got to be the situation where DRM is the most justified. You *really* don't own the product. If that's what it takes to get more titles (including those not in the public domain) available, then so be it.

      • by blue trane (110704) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @05:24PM (#35293842) Homepage Journal

        I'm of the opposite opinion. The reason libraries have to put time limits on lending is because the resource is scarce. But books can be replicated digitally for practically nothing. Putting lending limits on e-books is a clear case of creating scarcity where none need exist. Technology has given us the tools to provide information for free to all, but our psychology limits us to thinking in terms of scarcity and imposing it if it doesn't exist.

        • The number of decent authors is a very scarce resource. Having to work for nothing would make them scarcer.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Really?

            You do know that except for a priviledged (and lucky) few, most authors need a day job to live. Writing is just a side activity.

            On the other hand, scarcity (the paper book model) ensure that there won't be any change to not earning anything because knows an author, nor will they ever hear about him or her.

          • In the UK, we have the Public Lending Right [wikipedia.org] (also in some other countries). This gives authors a micro payment for every time one of their books is loaned in a public library, something like 5p. a time.

            I am not sure how the figures are worked out but the intention is that authors are compensated for public loans that might impact their sales. It's not tied to the number of copies of their books that are stocked by the libraries, but the number of times their books are borrowed. It's summed up and given to t

        • So, 1 library buys 1 'copy' of a book, then 'loans' it to everybody for as long as they want, simultaneously?

          Let's get this thing going. It sounds great. Well, except for authors/publishers.

          Which library shall we designate the 'master', which buys the one copy of the book, and then loans it out to everyone?

    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      I don't think you RTFA. They're talking about 20th Century books--books that are subject to copyright. This is a very good thing.

    • by MoonBuggy (611105)

      Gutenberg is only for public domain titles (so mostly 19th and some early 20th century work), this library is for lending of in-copyright works. If it's well implemented, it makes a lot of sense - as I've said before, enforcing a short-term loan seems like one of the few valid uses of DRM, and since many libraries now offer eBooks it seems far more sensible to have all the content available from one central resource than to have it tied to geographic location.

    • I think it's rather cool.
      (searches)

      Year's best science fiction - nope
      Red Mars - nope
      Hyperion - nope
      Foundation asimov - nope
      mary higgins clark - nope
      Ender's game -nope

      Okay well that was a fun experiment but I don't think I'll be coming-back any time soon.

    • by Aggrajag (716041)

      So... its basically Project Gutenberg with added DRM?

      The books are quite a bit more recent, check William Gibson's available books:

      http://openlibrary.org/authors/OL26283A/William_F._Gibson [openlibrary.org]

    • by Phoghat (1288088)
      I don't think so. DRM yes, but Gutenberg doesn't have much in the way of popular 20th Century titles. BTW the same Adobe Reader Software is used by all the Library Systems in NY State to lend e-books with the same terms as Open Library. It's a great money saver.
  • Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hsmith (818216) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @04:50PM (#35293538)
    Can we stop applying old world methodologies to current technologies? Libraries could only lend one title out at a time BECAUSE IT WAS WHAT THEY HAD. There is not a single reason to "only lend one digital" copy out at a time, other than to force some insane business model down the throats of people. Ok, fine I can settle with the "You need to read the books in 14 days" kind of thing to entice people to read it or buy it, but that is even stretching it.
    • by Ancantus (1926920)
      Perhaps a better solution would be to only allow one book to be taken out per user. Makes more sense and most people don't read more than one book at a time anyways. If they want to keep the ebook they can buy it.
      • by sco08y (615665)

        Perhaps a better solution would be to only allow one book to be taken out per user. Makes more sense and most people don't read more than one book at a time anyways. If they want to keep the ebook they can buy it.

        Really? I've never met someone who only reads one book at a time. It may only be occasionally that they'll stop one book halfway and get distracted, but that's two at a time.

        The worst part, from a user experience perspective, is that it sounds like a reasonable limitation. When users do run into it and are frustrated, and that's what they'll tell other people about, no matter how good it is overall.

    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Americano (920576) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @05:29PM (#35293910)

      I have an honest question: How is an author going to be paid for their time writing the books if we allow one person to purchase the book, and then lend it to an infinite number of people at once? Musicians can go out on tour and perform live, and make a reasonable living doing that, making their studio recordings less critical a part of their income. Authors can't (generally speaking, I suppose some poets and spoken-word types could) go on tour and perform their craft for a live audience.

      Yes, they're forcing a business model down peoples' throats, and it seems dated and silly given that you can make infinte lossless copies of a book with a close-to-zero cost. The real (and earnest) question is - what's your proposal for a better solution, specifically for the publishing industry, which will allow authors to - at the very least - make a comfortable middle-class living? Most authors do not write books that sell at volumes that would allow "2 cents per electronic copy" to be a maintainable business model. Do we tell those writers, "tough shit, start waiting tables and give up the writing thing if you're not popular?" And bear in mind that if you actually would suggest that, you've just neatly gutted the bulk of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, which I believe tend to be pretty popular around this part of the intartubes.

      • Blogs with advertising where they can regularly add content, and/or specialized subscription-type content.
        Sales of physical copies of their works (people still buy physical books, and probably will for a long time).
        Sponsored book signings / speaking engagements / web lectures, etc.
        Contract gigs writing material for medium/large corporations that need or could find creative use for skilled writers (think Penny-Arcade's video game manuals).
        Participation in and/or collaborative hosting and moderation of web-ba

      • Re:Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

        by godrik (1287354) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @05:58PM (#35294192)

        As we used to fund art before with Patronage ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patronage [wikipedia.org] ).

        I actually am pretty serious. I do not see how one can expect to fund a production per copy when cloning such a production is a virtually free operation. The funding needs to be done beforehand. I would totally chip in a few hundreds bucks a year to fund arts I like.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          As we used to fund art before with Patronage ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patronage [wikipedia.org] ).

          I actually am pretty serious. I do not see how one can expect to fund a production per copy when cloning such a production is a virtually free operation. The funding needs to be done beforehand. I would totally chip in a few hundreds bucks a year to fund arts I like.

          That there is the problem. A lot of what's turned out to be incredibly influential work wasn't liked at that time, much of it was outright banned for being offensive to portions of the population.

          Not to mention that in many cases you don't know what a work is going to look like until after it's finished.

          This is why charity based welfare and assistance programs don't work very well. If you're a battered wife, you're far, far more likely to get help from charitable organizations than if you're a man in a simi

          • by Squiggle (8721)

            A lot of what's turned out to be incredibly influential work wasn't liked at that time, much of it was outright banned for being offensive to portions of the population.

            No funding or business model changes this basic resistance to change. Corporate marketing seeks to control what is acceptable for it's own gain, but I'd guess that much of previous work that was banned or "offensive" ran into similar problems (under different guises of power): people who wield influence and power using it against others. Distributed patronage would be a huge win for the freedom for people choose what things get made.

            Not to mention that in many cases you don't know what a work is going to look like until after it's finished.

            Neither do any other investors, but still they invest in the very products

          • by G-forze (1169271)

            That there is the problem. A lot of what's turned out to be incredibly influential work wasn't liked at that time, much of it was outright banned for being offensive to portions of the population.

            And the authors of those books hardly wrote them expecting any kind of economic payback.

        • Yes, Patronage.

          It's not that patronage is a great system necessarily, though I imagine we can improve hugely on how it worked in past centuries. It's that the current system is broken. Very, very broken. DRM is patently ridiculous. There hasn't been a DRM scheme yet that couldn't be broken, and there never will be. Currently, copying is incredibly easy. Copying will only get easier. Artificial scarcity can't be maintained. Enforcing it is absolutely impossible. How is any regulating body to know

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I have an honest question: How is an author going to be paid for their time writing the books if we allow one person to purchase the book, and then lend it to an infinite number of people at once?

        Not my problem. How is a person who sits around and does logarithm tables to 300 decimal places going to get paid when they are done? Oh, you mean we don't want or need 300 decimal place logarithm tables?

        That may be a bad example, but all of them are. There is no inherent right to getting paid. Many things that society values (eg, scientific research) is primarily done through tax money. Scientists don't pass around a hat, and they rarely direct charge for their research.

        I have great respect for author

        • Oh, you mean we don't want or need 300 decimal place logarithm tables?

          That may be a bad example, but all of them are.

          I don't think you can use "we don't want or need this" as a justification for copying something for your billion closest friends to read...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Do we tell those writers, "tough shit, start waiting tables and give up the writing thing if you're not popular?"

        Well.. yes?

        Or, more specifically, we would suggest that if it turns out that being an author of written stories is no longer a suitable profession in terms of making a reasonable living income, that it be reserved as something to be done by those who do so out of enjoyment for the art - possibly as something done in spare time next to 'waiting tables'.

        Remember.. the popular mantra here is that pe

        • people are not entitled to an income. Just because a person chooses to become a book author doesn't mean they're entitled to an income

          You're right that no one is entitled to an income, but, sheesh, do you really want to live in a world where the only books that get written are those that will sell millions of copies? I mean, Harry Potter was fun, but surely you can agree that reading Glen Cook, for example, is much more satisfying. Not to mention John Steinbeck or Tolkein.

          Surely we, as a society, can co

      • Re:Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

        by denzacar (181829) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @06:31PM (#35294518) Journal

        Authors can't (generally speaking, I suppose some poets and spoken-word types could) go on tour and perform their craft for a live audience.

        Sure they can. It's called "a reading". [yorkpress.co.uk]

        "tough shit, start waiting tables and give up the writing thing if you're not popular?"

        And that is different from the current business model [fonerbooks.com] how exactly? Sure, it ain't as bad as in music industry, but still...

        Unless you are selling at least tens of thousands [brendahiatt.com] of each book - you're not going to be making a living from writing alone.
        At 10% royalty a $20 hard copy owned by a publisher and a $2 self-published, self-marketed e-book make the same amount of money per book for the author.
        Granted, minus the advance, promotion and various other services that the publisher would provide. Also, minus any copyright limitations.

        If anything, authors need to demand a larger piece of a smaller cake for the e-versions of their books.
        Most of the publisher's costs are non-existent for e-books, just as most of the risk. Author would probably be better off self-publishing through amazon. [amazon.com]

        • Most of the publisher's costs are non-existent for e-books, just as most of the risk. Author would probably be better off self-publishing through amazon. [amazon.com]

          Maybe. The real question is: are there unaffiliated editors that authors can hire, rather than the other way around. It seems to me that that's the real monopoly that the publishing houses have, once you strip them of the dominance over distribution.

          • by denzacar (181829)

            Why wouldn't there be? It's a skill, not an inherited genetic trait. Plus, editors retire all the time - they don't get euthanized or taken to a glue factory.
            But in general, editors are free to do freelance work as it attracts customers to their publisher.
            Also, a self-publishing author doesn't really need all those editors [stateuniversity.com] that a publishing company might need.

      • by Sabriel (134364)

        Physical libraries already lend to an "infinite" number of people, where "infinite" is a number limited only by the book's popularity, durability and the length of time the book is held by each reader, and - at least in my country, don't know about yours - also already pay the author based on a combination of the number of times the book is borrowed and the amount of funding allocated to library lending in the government budget. This money comes out of our taxes, which I don't begrudge as I consider it part

        • by fnj (64210)

          So, in other words, it ISN'T infinite, then. It is strictly limited by how many times you can serially lend out each copy of the book before it wears out, and by how many copies the library buys. With electronic replication, it really is essentially infinite. You're not limited to serial lending; it can be parallel without limit. And the library only has to buy one copy. So no, electronic is not ANYTHING like physical.

          Physical libraries already lend to an "infinite" number of people, where "infinite" i

          • by Sabriel (134364)

            I did put quotes around the word "infinite"; perhaps I should have used the word "indefinite"? However, if we're going to be picky, electronic replication is not really essentially infinite, nor is its lending parallel without limit. Hard drives do wear out. Bit errors still occur, however rarely. Parallelism (aka bandwidth) is dependent on the physical infrastructure. So it's really a question of efficiencies, for which electronic is mostly far superior (assuming the technological infrastructure is maintai

      • How is an author going to be paid for their time writing the books if we allow one person to purchase the book, and then lend it to an infinite number of people at once?

        Why would someone who buys a copy be motivated to set up the expensive web infrastructure needed lend it to an infinite number of people at once?

        The only motive I can see is that they have some way to make money off of it -- they either charge for the lending, or are making money off of ads. In which case, the author ought to get a cut --

      • Alternative models include:

        - Patronage, where a wealthy person/group funds the creation of art. This was common before copyright. Although some of this funding will be purely altruistic ("just make great art for everyone"), this model also leads to self-indulgent or propaganda-like art.

        - Donations, as is done with street performers, and non-profits both large and small (e.g. Wikipedia).

        - Grants for the arts. Similar to donations, though the provenance of the funds may be different (e.g. in many cou
        • by Americano (920576)

          These are all certainly legitimate alternatives - I wasn't asking with a predetermined answer in mind, I was asking because GGP was carrying on about how "DRM and sales of books as if they're physical objects" is a dead and outdated business model, and, if we accept that that's the case, the next question is: where do we go from here?

          I frankly don't see the objection to spending money to purchase a copy of a book you want to buy, regardless of whether or not there's DRM applied. I'm getting hours of enjoy

      • The prospect of admiring college girls jumping into the author's bed isn't enough incentive to write anymore?
      • How is an author going to be paid for their time writing the books if we allow one person to purchase the book, and then lend it to an infinite number of people at once?

        Well, I was thinking that they might get paid the same way that scriveners, lamplighters, and blacksmiths are paid.

        Do we tell those writers, "tough shit, start waiting tables and give up the writing thing if you're not popular?"

        Well, that is pretty much what we told scriveners, lamplighters, blacksmiths, and dozens of other professionals whose professions were rendered obsolete by technology. If authors do not want to write because they enjoy the art, well, that is unfortunate, but there are a whole lot of people out there who do just enjoy the art and write even when it is not profitable.

        if you actually would suggest that, you've just neatly gutted the bulk of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, which I believe tend to be pretty popular around this part of the intartubes.

        Oh yeah? Do you have

        • by Americano (920576)

          Sorry, I stopped reading when you suggested that *authors* have been made obsolete by technology, just like scribes and lamplighters.

          Nowhere in my post did I say that the "second assistant mail clerk to the deputy copy editor" and the rest of the middlemen in the publishing industry were entitled to anything.

          • Authors are not obsolete; the publishing industry, based on paying authors by profiting on the inability of people to copy written works, is obsolete. If authors cannot be paid by any other means, then yes, their profession is as obsolete as scribes' and lamplighters'. Personally, I think authors will either continue writing because they enjoy the art (in fact, most of the authors I have met have not seen enough payment for their works to quit their day jobs) or find another way to make money as writers.
      • by vux984 (928602)

        I have an honest question: How is an author going to be paid for their time writing the books if we allow one person to purchase the book, and then lend it to an infinite number of people at once?

        The blindingly obvious answer is that you set the price for the one copy high enough that you only need to sell one.

        Now who is going to pay $250,000 or even $25,000 for a novel? A few wealthy patronage types possibly. But there is nothing stopping a bunch of regular joes from throwing a couple bucks into a pool to

        • by VJ42 (860241)

          But there is nothing stopping a bunch of regular joes from throwing a couple bucks into a pool to raise that much money together.

          If any of my favorite authors put a book out like that, I'd throw $5 or $10 into the pot to get it "released".

          We would need someone to administer a scheme like that - maybe they could find new authors that we might like & they might also have to do some promotion to get enough people interested in some books. What could we call those people? "Publishers" sounds like a good name for them...

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        You know, there's more than a handful of webcomic artists who profit enough off of books, t-shirts, and other merchandise that they basically do it as their day job (or if not that, a part-time job). Sure, very few of them are Penny Arcade rich, but there are more of them that are making minimum wage or better from merch, donations, etc. than you'd think. I know of a few offhand that pull in anywhere from $1000-2000 a month in donations (that doesn't count ads or merch).

        If your work can stand on its own mer

      • by argStyopa (232550)

        You neglect the obvious corollary.
        Where in the past the prices of books were set at a level that would both compensate for the physical cost of the media and the author's intellectual contribution, now essentially the media cost is zero.

        You're right, John Q Author won't get to sell books through massive publishers. But JQA can sell his books directly to his fans for almost nothing and make a nice profit.

        Further, his market is no longer the 'segment' identified by a marketer, it's EVERYONE with an internet

      • "I have an honest question: How is an author going to be paid for their time writing the books if we allow one person to purchase the book, and then lend it to an infinite number of people at once?"

        I have an honest question, how are we to protect horse and buggy makers from this new fangled technology called the car?

        • by Americano (920576)

          Really, so you're also suggesting that AUTHORS have been made obsolete somehow by technology?

          I know that AI systems have improved in the past few years, but I don't think we've managed to reduce Shakespeare to a few thousand lines of code yet.

          • "Really, so you're also suggesting that AUTHORS have been made obsolete somehow by technology?"

            We do this all the time for other occupations, no one has any problem offshoring/outsourcing/destroying jobs when new technologies that make their skills obsolete (i.e. robots vs manual labor). I doubt you'd say "what about those poor factory workers/mcdonalds workers?", when we finally develop robots that can do manual labor and do food service/house work.

            There are tonnes of jobs who've had their skillsets deva

            • by Americano (920576)

              Again, we're talking about *authors*. Not bookbinders, typesetters, printing press operators or any other person in the *publishing* end of the business - the creative type who actually writes the book. Your argument doesn't apply to them, unless - as I noted previously - we've had some truly amazing strides in the AI field in the past few months.

              Computers are great at automating repetitive & manual tasks. Not so much with writing Moby Dick or The Lord of the Rings.

      • I have an honest question: How is an author going to be paid for their time writing the books if we allow one person to purchase the book, and then lend it to an infinite number of people at once?

        Your question rings like the questions that led to the Statute of Anne, in 1709. I don't think there's been a good answer yet.
        The principle at the time was that to encourage the sharing of knowledge, authors and artists should be compensated fairly.
        Speaking from my experience in design and publishing, I find there is one truth now: the printer always gets paid.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Publishers want to make money. If they allowed libraries to have a "checkout as many copies of this book as you like" policy then popular books wouldn't sell any better than unpopular ones (since the library only would need one "copy" of everything). Likely, a library licenses the right to have X number of copies "out" at any given time. If they want to have more out at one time, they have to pay more. So popular books make more money that way, the same as they would if the libraries were buying actual phys

    • by mybecq (131456)

      There is not a single reason to "only lend one digital" copy out at a time, other than to force some insane business model down the throats of people

      There is this little thing call copyright law. It has to do with the RIGHT to COPY something. They have a right to loan out their single copy, but not more than one.

      • There is this little thing call copyright law. It has to do with the RIGHT to COPY something. They have a right to loan out their single copy, but not more than one.

        A relic of an age where making mass numbers of copies required expensive industrial equipment. Now the majority of people have the necessary equipment in their living rooms.

        The world has changed, and it is time to start updating the law to reflect those changes. You know, like how we updated plenty of other laws to keep pace a changing world, new technologies, and so forth? Oh, wait, I forget, copyrights are special.

        • by fnj (64210)

          No, actually it is plainly NOT a relic of times when it cost serious money to make copies. Sheesh. That would imply copyrights were LESS necessary now than they were then, because ... why, exactly? It is more practical to copy now than it was then. But obviously copyrights were considered necessary then, even given the expense and trouble of copying.

          The above is pure logic and assumes that we want authors to be paid per copy. Whether THAT is what we should want is an entirely separate question. Entire

          • Except that the primary reason that the constitution allows for the creation of a copyright system -- that's right, allows it, it is not mandated and copyrights are not a natural right -- is to benefit the general public by promoting the production of art and useful sciences. It is not because we specifically want authors or anyone else to be paid; that is simply a means to an end.

            When copyrights were only relevant to people in certain industries, nobody had to worry about their natural rights being thr
            • by fnj (64210)

              Yes, the copyright system has become corrupted, I happen to agree. This has no bearing whatsoever on the logical absurdity of the poster'c comment.

    • by blueZhift (652272)
      I'm not really sure if the idea of a lending library even makes sense any more with eBooks. When I first learned that I could borrow eBooks from the Chicago Public Library, I was a little shocked because from the publishers point of view it doesn't really make sense. Even over a period of 2 weeks, I have access to the entire book which I may read completely, or perhaps hack so that I can lend it to millions of "friends" on the internet. Either way, the publisher is likely losing a sale. I would not be surpr
      • by hedwards (940851)

        It doesn't make any less sense than selling ebooks in the first place. I'm sure that if you know where to look, you can find all sorts of ebooks available for pirating.

        Not to mention that companies like O'reilly don't seem to be having any trouble making money with their DRM free ebooks.

    • Unfortunately if you work in libraries you realise that it's the e-book (and other database) vendors that are applying the old world methodologies to their business models and libraries have no choice.

      If libraries had their way all the world's published knowledge would be free and open to everyone.

  • I'm very glad to see programs like this. One of the reasons I chose a Nook over the Kindle was because my local library supported eBook lending. However I wish there was a way to donate eBooks I've purchased to the library (similar to how we can donate physical books). Do any online book sellers provide such an option (allow you to transfer the license)?

    • by Americano (920576)

      Not sure how popular the service will turn out to be, but Amazon supports lending of (some) Kindle books - discretion is left to the publisher, and there is now a service, lendle.me, which is geared towards building a library of lendable books from Amazon that people can share.

      Not sure how the library services you use compare, but it's an option for people who own Kindles.

  • cue the onslaught of lawsuits from publishers who think this will destroy their business
    • Amazing how Slashdot hasn't run a story (did I miss it?) on Borders being on the verge of bankruptcy. B&N isn't doing so well either. THAT would pulverize the publishing industry.

    • by Fizzol (598030)
      These aren't new books that OpenLibrary is suddenly making available. It's really just a search engine for the Overdrive Library System, and the only in-copyright books they offer are what's already available through Overdrive.
  • So, what's to stop someone from making a second and third copy of the e-book when they have it "checked out?" If it's some kind of encrypted, DRM scheme, how long will we have to wait until the DRM scheme is cracked and those encrypted (illegal?) copies are decoded back to the original text? Two weeks? Somehow I fail to see how this will become anything more than a cheaper way to 'buy' ebooks.
    • I had the same questions, so I went to their site. I browsed around. Read the FAQ. Tried to borrow a book.

      I still have the same questions.

      -Peter

    • If the person doesn't mind the copyright infringement, why would she take the trouble to crack the file instead of downloading an already unDRMed ebook from $file_sharing_system?

      • by Junta (36770)

        Because checking out a book from a library appears completely legitimate to anyone monitoring/logging traffic on the outside and all the 'infringement' is contained entirely within their house and impossible to tell the difference between someone following the rules and someone copying off the data.

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      Without reading the article, most libraries out there now use ePub-format books and something like Adobe Digital Editions for DRM, which is already cracked. (In the sense that you can acquire the decryption keys. It shouldn't be surprising that decrypting the books is easy.)

    • by Fizzol (598030)
      There's nothing to stop you from stripping the DRM and spreading it around, except your own conscience.
      • There's nothing to stop you from stripping the DRM and spreading it around, except your own conscience.

        Good thing I had my conscience surgically removed years ago. It is a very simple procedure, involving lazers. It is commonly preformed on politicians.

    • They probably use adobe digital editions or equivalent. I'm pretty sure the adobe security has been broken and cracking scripts made that relatively low-tech-savviness persons could use, but I think that many of us still wish to do things legally (hence the popularity of overdrive vs pirate bay). I'm a big fan of my local tax money going to buy books (which supports authors, editors, publishers, etc...) and then lets me have an extremely large volume of quality work for a fraction of the cost without too

  • Or you just lend the same book to many people. You can have the law allow for public library to lend books... becourse it helps the people.
  • Overall it's not really very useful. Its ebook loans go through Overdrive, so if the title you're interested in isn't available as an ebook from your library then you're out of luck. Why bother going through Open Library when I can just use the search engine at my own library instead? Any PD books they have are going to be available at any number of places so why bother?
  • So what?

    I live in semi-rural England (Bracknell Forest.) I can check out audio books (spoken word) from our library online using our council (municipal) website. This is just doing it with text/pdf/proprietary format files, which, to me, is no more impressive.

    Lot of fuss about nothing. Go on, mod me down!

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I hear tell that you can now make phone calls, not by twisting a dial or turning a crank, but by pushing buttons, and sometimes you can even have the phone dial the previous number again!

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @05:41PM (#35294034) Homepage

    This is a winning concept. Take the best aspect of digital information and remove them. Next up: Slowing computers to one operation per second and adding the soothing clicky noise an abacus makes, then make a few cell phones without batteries that can only be used while connected to a power cord.

  • Welcome back to the Dark Ages. LOL! April Fool's is just around the corner. Maybe this is a prank.

  • I'd not come across the Open Library before but I'm beginning to see they have as a warped definition of the word "open" as some software companies do.

    From their About us page:
    > Open Library is an open project: the software is open, the data are open, the documentation is open...

    From one of the DAISY protected books...
    > There are two types of DAISYs on Open Library: open and protected. Open DAISYs can be read by anyone in the world on many different devices. Protected DAISYs (like this one) can only b

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