Petter Reinholdtsen

Free e-book kiosk for the public libraries?
7th October 2011

Here in Norway the public libraries are debating with the publishing houses how to handle electronic books. Surprisingly, the libraries seem to be willing to accept digital restriction mechanisms (DRM) on books and renting e-books with artificial scarcity from the publishing houses. Time limited renting (2-3 years) is one proposed model, and only allowing X borrowers for each book is another. Personally I find it amazing that libraries are even considering such models.

Anyway, while reading part of this debate, it occurred to me that someone should present a more sensible approach to the libraries, to allow its borrowers to get used to a better model. The idea is simple:

Create a computer system for the libraries, either in the form of a Live DVD or a installable distribution, that provide a simple kiosk solution to hand out free e-books. As a start, the books distributed by Project Gutenberg (about 36,000 books), Project Runenberg (1149 books) and The Internet Archive (3,033,748 books) could be included, but any book where the copyright has expired or with a free licence could be distributed.

The computer system would make it easy to:

In addition to such kiosk solution, there should probably be a web site as well to allow people easy access to these books without visiting the library. The site would be the distribution point for the kiosk systems, which would connect regularly to fetch any new books available.

Are there anyone working on a system like this? I guess it would fit any library in the world, and not just the Norwegian public libraries. :)

Tags: english, opphavsrett.

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