My sister calls herself the "Fat Witch With A Gun". Besides being heavily into books, one of her missions in life is to convince other women to learn how to use guns and to carry them around should the need to use one in self defense ever arise.
Should she ever hear you teasing your cute girlfriend about her love handles, the best that you can hope for is that you'll be turned into a newt then released into a cold yet refreshing Idaho mountain stream. Your only alternative would be puzzling over how to put your brain back together after you found it spattered all over the wall.
Don't Piss Her Off.
I sent my sister, my mother and my mother's twin sister this email just now. My sister is heavily into computing but Mom and Aunt Peggy are quite computationally challenged. However all three of them as well as myself regard libraries as one of the most valuable public services any government or school could ever hope to provide.
If you feel as I do that the word needs to be gotten out about what follows, please forward this email to anyone you might feel would be interested in or would benefit from it.
Something came up on one of the web sites I like to hang out on that is of vital importance to anyone that cares in any way about the continued existence of public libraries.
The Looming Library Lending Battle
Publishers vs. Libraries: an eBook Tug-of-War
Book publishers have NEVER thought highly of public libraries, but it is only recently that they've gotten the idea of getting every public library in the land completely shut down. This isn't the first I've heard of that effort, but is the most serious threat to libraries that has come up since the publishing industry started working to put a stop to the free lending of books.
When a library purchases or is given a book printed on paper - what computer geeks call a "dead tree book" - it has the perfectly legal right to lend that book out as many times as readers want to check it out. If we could come up with books that never wore out, in principle every library book could be repeatedly lent out until The End of Time.
However I am sure you have heard that with the widespread availability of reference information, entertainment and reading material available on the Internet, traditional printed book libraries have suffered. When I was in school and was assigned to write a research paper, I would perform all that research from "dead tree books" in a library.
Today's students do the vast majority of their scholastic research on the Internet, at websites such as Wikipedia, without ever setting foot in a library. That has resulted in the loss of public support for libraries, as well as fewer people ever visiting one. Because libraries, like most government services, argue for the continuation of their funding by keeping records of the public's use of their services, public funding to libraries has been cut back drastically. Branches are being closed everywhere, with those that do remain open having to cut back on hours, staff and the purchase of new books.
However, just in the last couple of years libraries have found new relevance by - among other ways - lending out what are called "eBooks" or Electronic Books.
They aren't books in the traditional sense, but they are electronic documents just like the documents you save on the Desktop of your iMac. One always requires some kind of electronic computing device to actually read them.
One can read them with a traditional computer. I can use my iPad as an eBook reader. The Amazon online shopping website sells a popular eBook reader called the Kindle, as well as a wide selection of eBooks that can be read by the Kindle. The Barnes and Noble bookstore sells a competing eBook read called the Nook. The main advantage of the specialized eBook readers over computers like your iMac is that they are much smaller, lighter and so easier to carry, and can be powered just by batteries for quite a long time rather than having to be plugged into the wall.
Because eBooks are data files, and so are not subject to wear, tear, soiling, water damage or mechanical stress, they NEVER wear out and so really could be lent out repeatedly until The End of Time.
Unfortunately, while Amazon and Barnes and Noble sell eBooks, they are actually published by the same companies as publish dead tree books. eBooks are wildly popular these days, so all the publishers are coming out with new titles every day, but they are easily able to see that eBooks cut into the sales of traditional print books.
The traditional book publishers have come to regard eBooks in much the same way as buggy whip manufacturers regarded the automobile. Rather than finding some way to work with the new technology, to embrace it and to make the most of computing, readers such as the Nook, Kindle and iPad, and so to make a lot of money from eBooks in the same way as software publishers make money by publishing software, the traditional publishers are struggling to restrict what one can do with eBooks.
One such proposal that is being widely promoted among the traditional publishers is to forbid libraries from freely lending eBooks. Instead they have the idea that after an eBook has been lent a specific number of times, the library ought to be required to pay the full purchase price of that eBook, as if it had just purchased an additional copy from a bookstore.
That's Just Wrong. That's not why we have libraries.