Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Amazon's Lending Library Waves Goodbye to the Enlightenment?

People are somewhat leery about this  in regards to libraries/future/future of publishing. Currently though the selection of Amazon's Lending Library is apparently somewhat limited so it will be interesting to see how this takes off.
It  seemed to be only a matter of time until something on this scale was available. With the focus on solo use of devices Andrew Carnegie's ghost is staring grumpily at his Kindle wondering where he's going to want to build his next library. Or how are virtual places going to maintain Enlightenment-styled edifices that are designed to benefit more than the ones who can purchase. Not to beat this into the ground but the gap of have/have-nots is going to continue to widen because electronic books don’t go to used book sales. While e-books may not burn they are also way harder to share.
The process of one-to-many-to-one-to-many-to-one (book gets sold to one, book donated to a book sale (many options for purchase) book gets sold to one, book is given away (many))
This approach is simply not an option with an electronic file, especially with DRM . It’s possible that the real problem with electronic books is one of the culture industry (Adorno) that has deliberately severed ties with the benefits of Enlightenment-style thinking; namely that education is a community process that requires community investment and input rather than customized, solo experience. This has the distinct possibility of returning back to pre-Enlightenment thinking where those who read were those who could afford it because of the exclusivity of the written word based on platform. Don't forget about the factor of planned/structured obsolescence requiring users to upgrade from platform to platform to stay current.
If publishing really goes all electronic where proprietary devices are required and publishers pull back from print runs so that price per book goes up, texts once again have the distinct potential of becoming exclusive.

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