As an ALA Presidential candidate, I wanted to weigh in on the news today that Adobe is collecting user data via the DRM it places on eBooks — including ebooks that users have loaned from their library.
First, there’s this:
And there’s Eli Neiburger, who, for half a decade, has been warning us against these things:
The reason I stopped talking about video game collection development (in the traditional Carnegie library sense) was because the writing’s been clearly on the walls for years: the public library model of loaning materials doesn’t work for digital objects
now, and it’ll work even less so in the future (until we hit the zero mark where we can’t even PRETEND to make it work). For someone who had this opinion, the fact that something like this happened
is not a shock or an outrage, it’s a “no kidding”.
We can rally against what’s happened and rage against the system, or we can move on, collectively, from Big Fiction, and focus our attention on all of the things in libraries that we are really great at. I think it’s very much OK for us to say "We don’t need to provide a Netflix-for-"Big Fiction"-books". Even some library-initiated projects have this problem; this is the same tech that the much-vaunted ‘DCL model’ uses. Is handing over checkout records to Adobe without the library’s (let alone the patron’s) consent a wise future for libraries?
There’s, of course, people working on cool DRM-free, “loan period”-free ebook options out there. Hello GlueJar, and I’d love to point you back to the Eli Neiburger ebook summit talk once again, which finds itself more relevant in 2014 than it did even in 2010.