Library of the Future

“ESCONDIDO — The Escondido Public Library has launched its eBook download service. Patrons can browse the collection online. The service is free with a valid library card. The program can be downloaded from the library’s website to a computer, iPad, electronic reader or smartphone.”

No more moldy books with underlines, browsing in the stacks, thumbing through middle pages and having to wash your hands. Days gone by. Infinite books ahead.

Not going to use the recommended Adobe EPUB reader –  a piece of crapulent programming. I type in the URL and browse the ebooks, mostly bestsellers. In “New Arrivals” – Steinbeck’s “Mouse and Men”. I click on an old arrival.  “Place a Hold.” 14 readers pending, “You will receive an email when the selected title becomes available for checkout. Once you receive the email, you will have 3 days to check out the selected title.”

So they have perfectly replicated the worst part of the library experience – having to wait for the single copy that the “library owns.” If I remember correctly, the first ever libraries were medieval with chains attached to the books.

It has been an hour since I placed a book on hold that has (0) Readers waiting. Either the volunteer librarian is still making a PBJ or they are having a heck of a time trying to file the digital book in the Adobe Shelf Filing Software – Civic Edition. But then they probably are sharing the one legitimate license between all the civic libraries forced to participate in some councilmen’s free lunch scheme.

Mark Richard Beaulieu

PS – A week later I got an email notice for one of the books. You enter your library card # and pass through some hard to follow tree to put the book into a cart. You can check it out for 7 or 14 days. You are supposed to load this .acsm file into the appropriate Adobe software to read it, although I have another reader. I finish in one hour, realizing the book is not my cup of tea. Courteously I go to the library site to let the next reader have it. There is no way to “return” the book or indicate you are finished. Obviously a scam to keep the publishers happy to keep the book out of circulation, yet appear to be offering the title for the community.



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