31 August 2008

The only thing missing

Someone should start up an online library with thousands upon thousands of ebooks. For a small annual subscription fee, users would be able to "check out" books by receiving temporary passwords, which would "expire" when the time limit (of two weeks or so) is up. (This would probably mean that the ebooks would have to be kept on certain password protected websites and not be available for download.)

Does anyone know if anything like this exists yet? If not, I hope it's only a matter of time. Once it does, my life here will be complete. Imagine--a global lending library!

7 comments:

illusoryconfections said...

This sounds like a cross between Questia and google books...and I wish something like that existed (I'm sure it will soonish if it doesn't already). I recently reactivated my account with Questia because they do have a decent selection of scholarly books at least, many of which are stupidly expensive to buy.

Sylvia said...

Many public libraries already do this (for free) using Overdrive. The selection can be limited but will hopefully grow.

Brook said...

why don't we just implant a chip in our brain while we're at it?! all the books in the world could be right there, without even having to open our eyes...

no, I'm kidding...but I don't like ebooks. I like paper books. As I've said before elsewhere, I like to smell a book before I read it, and putting one's nose up to a computer screen before reading it is retarted. ebooks sounds too close to itunes, and we all know what that did to record stores and the physical object that music used to come in/on. I like downloading an otherwise unavailable track as much as the next person, and the convenience and immediate undelayed gratification is inconceivable, but I can't help but think that, just as dancing leads to sex and itunes leads to closed record stores, ebooks will eventually lead to fahrenheit 451...not because they're illegal, but because they're unnecessary and bulky.

I'd also like us to bring back the horse and buggy please. this whole "car" fad is getting old already.

amcorrea said...

Yes, A.--that's exactly it. Thanks for reminding me about Questia! Definitely something to look into.

Thank you for that link, Sylvia! Do you know if there's any way for those of us who are not patrons of those specific libraries to have access to digital collections? (I've been looking around a little, but so far have not found any info on this.)

Brook--yes, of course I prefer tangible books. But when one lives in a country where there are no English-language libraries or bookstores (and shipping costs are high), other options must be considered (aside from reading as much as possible in a second language--which I also do).

I've read books off Project Gutenberg and also American Gods (when Gaiman offered it for free). I've even bought an ebook--$13 for Tom Rob Smith's Child 44. (It was *almost* worth it.) But there's little chance I'm going to continue paying for books I'll probably only read once. (Especially when publishers don't acknowledge any pricing differences!)

I think things can be both/and rather than either/or. But it will be very interesting to see the shape things take in the next few years.

Sylvia said...

The only thing I can think of is to borrow a library card number from a friend, preferably one in a big city with a good library system.

amcorrea said...

Simple but brilliant. Thanks Sylvia!

Edward Renehan said...

I like this idea and am not aware of it being done as of yet.