Showing posts with label eBooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eBooks. Show all posts

30 June 2013

A Totally Digital Library


by Louis Willis

I think I’ve written at least two posts on libraries. I’ll probably write a few more before I am able to give it up because each time I read an article about a library closing or trying to change to keep up with the digital age, I worry. The thought of not being able to hold a paper book unsettles my mind. Of course, a world in which there are no paper books and in which a library goes completely paperless is not likely to happen in my time, but I still worry because I’m a natural worrier. I worry despite the good news that libraries are trying to remain relevant in the coming digital age. One is in fact trying to be the first to go completely digital.

Image courtesy of adamr
at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
County leaders in Bexar County Texas are planning to launch the first completely digital public library system called BiblioTech (from Spanish biblioteca). While other libraries have tried to go totally digital, none has succeeded because the users complained about not having access to paper books. Many libraries now lend both paper and ebooks.

BiblioTech will lend ereaders so that users will be able to download the book they want to checkout. They will be allowed to borrow only one book at a time. If they fail to return the ereader, the book will be deleted and the ereader will become just another piece of electronic junk. And, as a county leader noted, the library will have the resident’s name, phone number, and address. Imagine the library police showing up at his or her home to retrieve the purloined ereader. Good luck to Bexar County.

I can’t imagine not being able to hold a paper book in my hands and marking passages I admire. Yet, experience with my nine-year-old grandson tells me paper books might become a thing of the past in a few years. He uses his iPad to read, play games, and do research on animals because he wants to be a zoologist. I sometimes imagine my great grandkids going to a museum to see what a book looked like back in the golden age of paper books.

Two Interesting Library Tidbits 

While reading about libraries, I came across an article on the NPR website about a unique way the town of Basalt, Colorado is trying to save its public library. In addition to books, residents can check out seeds, yep, seeds.

Here in Knox County our public library is battling an interesting problem. Recently a reader found a bedbug in a book, prompting library officials to take action to have the main and all branch libraries inspected to make sure they are free of the little bloodsuckers. Such an extensive inspection will be expensive, so, to save money, they plan to contract with a “canine pest detection service.” Yep, they’ll use dogs to sniff out those little varmints.

Maybe a digital library will not be so bad. No bedbugs. And the books last forever in cyberspace.

22 October 2012

Technology Challenged


Jan Grapeby Jan Grape

I've mentioned many times that I'm technology challenged. After talking to many writer friends through the years, I've discovered that I'm not alone. I learned to use a computer back in the early80s. Yep, the first computer I owned was a Kaypro. It was only a word processing and it used a large 5 1/4 inch floppy disk. The computer and the printer cost around thirty-eight hundred dollars. Yeah, really.

The next computer I had was a PC called a Comp-u-add, I think it was around 1985 or so. It still mainly was only word-processing. If it did anything else I don't remember. I may have been able to used AOL then but not really sure. I bought my first desktop from Dell. Things were becoming more sophisticated. This computer used a 3.5 in diskette. By this time, I'm using AOL, and goodness AOL was all the big rage.

I also had a fax machine and had a dedicated phone line. I hate to think of how much I'm spent over the years for computers and electronic equipment. And could only utilize a small amount of intelligence these things could do. I remember also buying a Dell laptop along about then. The operating system was DOS. I took my laptop with me when I went to visit my daughter in Nashville, TN. My grandson, Riley was 5 years old and he and I played a few games on the laptop. A short time later, I'm back in TX, Riley's father was given a laptop at his sales job but there was no manual given out that day. My son-in-law got home and turned on the computer and couldn't do anything to make it start-up. He tried several things he thought might work but nothing did. Riley (age 5) sat watching his dad and finally said, "Nana always types 'dosshell' first." His skeptical father totally frustrated finally typed DOSSHELL and his computer came to life.

So at this point you'd think I was a computer expert...NOT. I could use Word Perfect processing program but about all I could do was type my stories, cut and paste. I learned to integrate addresses and work the mail program. Other writer friends still thought that was fantastic because they couldn't do that. I was able to write several short stories on the computer. That was a big step up from typing them on an electronic IBM Selectric typewriter.

I wrote my first book on my Dell laptop and Desktop. I could go back and forth, copying them onto the diskettes and keep them up to date. I made several back-up copies of everything and learned from a writer friend in CO to keep a copy in the freezer. If your house burned, chances were that diskette would survive. We all worried that we'd somehow lose our work. Computers crashed and things got lost and what would we do if that happened?

We were in New Mexico volunteering as camp hosts for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) down in the very bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge when I bought my second Dell laptop. This was probably 2001. It was delivered in Taos at the main BLM office and we were 16 miles away. As soon I we could we drove into down and I was so excited to have a new laptop. Laptops were the way to go when you lived in a 31 ft. Fifth Wheel RV. No room for a desk or desktop.

By now I could get online and transfer a file to the publisher and they could send it back with suggestions for changes but the final copy editing was still done and printed up in hard copy and paper. When you sent a final manuscript in back in earlier years, you sent a hard copy and a diskette.
So being able to send a mss online was seemingly high tech and in reality it was at that time.

Flash forward to current time. I still haven't learned much about computer operations...as Rob and Leigh can testify. I had so much trouble trying to get my blog article written and up and online that Rob finally wrote some step by step instructions for me and I have to use them every time. Here are my recent technology challenges.

There's a lady I heard about in ME who will format your books into the correct files so they can be uploaded to Nook and Kindle. I know there are people all over the place who do this, but she was recommended by a writer friend so I contacted her. She wrote me back saying she could do it and began spouting off technological things for me to do. I wrote back saying...wait, please. I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm very technology challenged. She wrote back saying, no problem. I've hand-held many first-timers, but we'll get it done.

First, I had to find a copy of my first book, written on my first laptop. Call me crazy but I still have all three of my old laptops. I looked on my second oldest and couldn't find the 1st book. I did find the second one and after a few tries managed to copy the file to a flash drive. Put the flash drive in the proper slot on my current desk top, copied to desktop and sent it to Pam. Whew...that wasn' too bad.

Next she wrote saying we needed to come up with covers for the books. I had sent actual copies of both books. I more or less had designed the cover for the 1st book published in 2001 and the publisher did a variation of that cover for the 2nd one published in 2005. In between years Five Star published a collection of my short stories (Found Dead In Texas). So I'm frantically searching for jpegs of the covers and can find pictures of the covers on these old laptops but they were in PDF not jpeg. I had at least learned a few years what a jpeg was but not how to produce one or anything.

While trying to find a copy of my first book (and she said Word Perfect was okay) I found it, but the oldest laptop would not take a flash drive. I got an e-mail from Pam saying she had the hard copies of my books and the file I had sent to her only had 16 chapters and the book had 21 chapters. I thought I had sent my final file to her...but NO, wasn't so. While still searching for the first book and have no idea how to get it off the old laptop. I came up with the idea of taking the laptop to a computer store (not a big box store, a small help place) who said they could convert the copied diskette file to a flash drive. I take it in and learn that this file is only 16 chapters. Back on the way home I realized that I had only saved the 21 file chapter file to the computer not to the diskette. (See how challenged I am.)

Back home again, I discover the correct 21 chapter file on the 2nd laptop and the also full file of the whole mss for the first book which I thought was not on this 2nd laptop (again challenged.) I have no idea how I missed it the first time. I had been sure both books were on the 2nd laptop when I began this process (challenged again). Believe it or not, I got the files to Pam, and her son was able to scan the book covers into something that can be used and things are finally looking up. I'm currently proof-reading the 2nd book because it was the first file she had ready. And actually finding typos in the book not the file. So will try to get those corrected so the e-books will be in better shape all around.

You who are computer knowledgeable folks are probably laughing by now. I don't blame you. My friend Pam is hand-holding me. Some of the notes she writes she's dumbed down (the best she can) the technical words and phrases so I can understand. Otherwise I have to write back and say...I have no idea what you're talking about.

I am about as dumb as a horned toad when it comes to technology. But I am still learning. My story and I'm sticking to it.

30 September 2012

Spying E-Readers


by Louis Willis

Are we Americans overly paranoid about corporations and government collecting information about us?

I’m not sounding an alarm, but based on two articles I read in the online journal The Guardian, our reading privacy and reading freedom, it seems, are being threatened.

Like many people, I worry about privacy when I use the Internet. The article “Big e-Reader is watching you” (July 4, 2012) by Alison Flood has increased the worry gremlins running around in my head. “Retailers and search engines,” she writes, “can now gather an astonishingly detailed portrait of our book-reading habits: what we buy, what we browse, the amount of time we spend on a page and even the annotations we make in an ebook.”

As the article suggests, if you use an E-reader or computer, the Big Brothers--book publishers, booksellers, the government, and maybe even authors--are watching what you read, how long it takes you to finish a novel, and what parts you highlight. I read an article (forgot to copy the URL) in another online publication or blog that a small publisher of E-books has gone so far as to allow readers to chose their heroes, heroines, and plots. It seems the publisher wants to make storytelling and reading what it is not and shouldn’t be for adult readers--interactive.

Jo Glanville in his article “Reader’s privacy is under threat in the digital age” (August 31, 2012) notes that the digital trail we leave behind when we download an E-book to our computer or E-reader is a source of information for the government to track us and for business to see us as potential customers and thus profit. California is tackling the problem of government spying head on. The legislature passed “The Reader Privacy Act” that requires government agencies to obtain a court order to collect information about a reader online or from bookstores. We can solve the problem of the government gathering information about our reading habits by following California’s example and forcing the government at all levels to obtain a court order before gathering information about what we read.

Authors, publishers, booksellers, and E-reader makers are a different matter. Authors already cater to readers’ taste in novels that have series protagonists. Authors want two things: to be read and to be paid for what they write. Publishers, booksellers, and E-reader makers want one thing: to make a profit. The E-book sellers for now, through E-readers, are in the driver’s seat. I can’t share an E-book with friends without the seller’s permission, though I suspect some smart geek will eventually, like music sharing, find a way around the restrictions, and, like the music producers, publishers, E-book sellers, and authors will fight back. Authors and publishers are challenging E-book sellers for control of E-book pricing. I hope the authors win but who ever wins, I also hope it benefits us readers.

That our E-readers are spying on us should be no surprise, for our computers have been spying on us for years. We will, because we don’t have a choice, accept the spying because the control of E-books and what we read is in the hands of manufacturers and sellers of E-readers. I have not yet made up my mind as to whether this is a good or bad thing. I don’t like the gathering of information on me by businesses or government, just as I don’t like authors posting fake reviews or bullying reviewers and critics (see Leigh’s September 9 post), but I’ll keep reading E-books on my three E-readers.

I tried but couldn’t write a humorous post on the threat to our freedom and privacy to read. There has to be some humor in the situation, doesn’t there?

09 September 2012

Locke and Leather


by Leigh Lundin

Consider this paragraph by Edward Tenner in The Atlantic:
If you were trying to discredit [the] self-publishing model aimed at eliminating conventional publishers as obsolete “gatekeepers,” relying instead on crowd-sourced reviews, what would you do? Here’s a thought: Why not work from within?
The sentiment hints at the deep resentment, distrust, and paranoia 'self-pubbers' harbor against the establishment, traditional publishing, 'gatekeepers' being a pejorative term for editors and publishers who, in the eyes of vanity press proponents, refuse to recognize truly great works of literature. But more than that, the article documents a few authors manipulating the publishing industry.

City of Lies
Some time back, Stephen Kelner and I among others took part in a LinkedIn discussion about self-publishing 'democratization', another code word aimed at wrenching righteous control from the publishing barons. Respected reputable authors thought it scandalous that fly-by-night entrepreneurs offered 'positive reviews' for sale, but self-pubbers, many who put in days, even weeks of labor (oops, my sarcasm is dripping), saw nothing wrong and everything right with buying positive reviews, part of their weaponry in their battle to bring down the giant publishing industry conspiracy. Why risk a tough but possibly honest reviewer like Liz Bourke?

Some paid reviewers advertise blatantly, but other don't. It's not unusual to see 'full service' self-publishing consultants and some of these include positive reviews as part of their services packages.

But wait… there's more. Once mainline publishers understood what the vanity press knew all along– that some people will pay actual money for the privilege of being seen in print– publishers began to cash in. Harlequin was among the first, selling their rejected authors on the pay-to-publish idea. The RWA and MWA forced them to alter their business model– they now outsource that end of their business– but the profit motive is still there. Kirkus and Amazon followed– they sell reviews although they don't guarantee a happy result like Darcie Chan's.

It turns out many of the so-called indie self-pubbers were shocked, shocked I tell you, that vanity presses don't provide the publicity and marketing like the big houses that they worked so hard to bring to their knees. Publishing houses were worse than ever suspected– surely there had to be collusion and conspiracy if some authors were not only published for free, but were actually paid. But eBooks… eBooks could set you free. As Christopher Moore said,
[T]he eBook business was never about books. It hides in the book world; wants to be accepted as a book world that readers and authors can trust.

In Review

Not so long ago, romance author and Highland Press owner Deborah MacGillivray built up a Yahoo group called Ladies in Waiting whose purpose was to promote MacGillivray's novels and trash naysayers. The group used 'clickies' to deride any negative or even tepid Amazon reviews, triggering Amazon's computers to nullify the mildest of critical reviewers and disable their accounts.

Griffin
Romance author Emily Giffin (the one who whines about being only #2 on the New York Times Bestseller List) and her clan reportedly attacked a couple of reviewers– one professional, one not– for daring to besmirch one of her books with 1-star reviews, then demanded the reviewers remove them for their own safety. Legions of fans began harassing reviewers to the point of death threats, yet the hubris of Griffin's response implied the fault lay with the victim– the reviewer.

I was struck by one thing that seems to have escaped the notice of most. Apparently Amazon quietly de-linked those reviews. Was it to protect the reviewers or protect sales of a top-selling author?

More recently, we learn John Locke, the first self-pubber to sell more than a million books on Amazon, wasn't so Indy after all. Similar to those exposed by New York Times' David Streitfeld and spotlighted by our friends Lee Goldberg and Leighton Gage, Steve Mosby, Dan Waddell, Stuart Neville, Jeri Westerson, and spy master Jeremy Duns among others, Locke paid for more than 4500 scintillating fake reviews to pave his way onto the bestsellers list. A former door-to-door salesman, Locke said,
Reviews are the smallest piece of being successful, but it’s a lot easier to buy them than cultivating an audience.
Like Kevin Wignall, my greater concern isn't about Locke buying votes who merely manipulated the system, it's the playground bullying of MacGillivray and Griffin, authors who've come to represent the darkest side of this new world of ePublishing.

Bestseller Switch back to the UK where literary bury-your-critics has become a rampant low art form, symbolized by historian Orlando Figes. Yet another scandal is brewing. Top best-selling author Stephen Leather not only admits to fabricating positive reviews for his own novel, some allege he set up shell reviewers ('socks') to trash competitors while others accuse him of relentlessly bullying those who got in his way. The modus operandi isn't unlike suspicions leveled against Roger J. Ellory and Matt Lynn, the latter a business journalist who should know better.

I don't know the men and I hope the accusations are wrong, but I smell a cesspool when a stench reaches my nostrils. As much as I detest vanity presses that exploit desperate wannabees, at least CreateSpace, AuthorHouse, and PublishAmerica offer a seamless if hollow illusion of being published. Clients who consider themselves ground-breaking 'indies' must comprehend they're preyed upon even as they dream they're striking blows for that illusive 'democratization', in what author David Hewson calls the 'phony revolution'. The successful don't buy one review, they buy thousands, then, if they don't like tepid reviews, they kick the crap out of critics.

Some in the self-pub trenches will be disappointed, but others will say, "Damn! So that's how it's done!" While bad reviews can be disturbing, they don't have to be a death sentence. Jason Boog surveyed bestsellers, some with up to hundreds of 1-star reviews, with surprising results.

Stephen Leather
Stephen Leather
Peculiarly to many of us, Leather and his ilk not only seem unfazed by the revelations, but they appear proud of their accomplishments. To bring out the buying fools, they seed the mines with fool's gold and kneecap challengers. They aren't so much sock-puppets as puppet-masters. As they pointed out, their efforts might be unethical, but they aren't illegal– they're calculated business decisions. All they did was ruthlessly manipulate a willing market to 'create a buzz' and become tax-paying millionaires.

This rough, raw, rapacious law of the land isn't about the books. It's about connivers who, in the words of Christopher Moore, have become 'superior tribe accumulators'. They bought a larger tribe, and the rest of us fail to understand:
[Once] books were read and admired across class, religious and political divides… writers didn’t write down to their audience. And that audience was book orientated, cohesive, and quality minded. In their day, books were an important part of the intellectual domain that educated people were expected to read and expected those in their circle to read. When the content of books were the subject of conversation.

That time has gone.
Perhaps true, but still, I lament…

Fool us once, shame on them. Fool a million, shame on us. Shame.

Note: As with all articles in SleuthSayers, the above are opinions of the author based upon the latest available research and alleged actions of persons involved. Parties are considered innocent until proven otherwise.

17 July 2012

E-volution


 by Dale C. Andrews

    Perhaps it is because each of our lives is linear that curiosity and a quest for order leads us to search out the beginnings of things that surround us in the world.  Sometimes it can be difficult to determine when something we now take for granted first originated, but other times we can track the beginning with certitude.  For those of us “of an age” I therefore pose a question:  what were you doing on July 4, 1971?

The IBM System 370 circa 1971
   I can remember that date pretty well.  It was a holiday, of course, and it was the first one for me at my first job after college.  I had just completed one month as a computer programmer in St. Louis Missouri.  The computer that I wrote programs for was an IBM 370, state of the art at the time.  It had to be housed in a climate controlled room and the computer itself took up, as I recall, the space of my present living room and dining room combined.  It sported, again as I recall, a wondrous storage capacity of 512 kilobytes.  Most of the things we take for granted on a laptop it could not do. 

    The COBOL programs that I wrote in 1971 were punched into 80 column cards.  A program usually comprised multiple boxes of these cards that were loaded into a card reader that spat them into the IBM 370 which then, under the guidance of what the programmer had written, could do wondrous things – like keeping track of spare parts and inventory.  By the time I left programming two years later to attend law school I had worked on one of the first “on-line” programs, which allowed data input from a (gasp!) stand alone terminal. 

The University of Illinois
    While I was toiling out a living commanding that IBM 370 computer to perform menial tasks something much more exciting was happening some miles away across the Mississippi river in Illinois.  On July 4, 1971 a young man, roughly my age, named Michael S. Hart, a graduate student at the University of Illinois, was granted free access to the University’s computer.  Such access was invaluable – unheard of at a time when computer access was scheduled in advance in minutes.  But nonetheless, through a friend of his brother, who operated the University’s mainframe computer, Hart was given the key to the kingdom. 

    But what kingdom?  What would I have done with such computer access in 1971?  Well, likely nothing.  The computer, after all, was a data processing instrument.  That is what it did – it processed data.  Why would you want free access to such a tool?  Would you want to spend your spare time sitting around processing even more data? 

Michael S. Hart
    Michael Hart, however, was not me.  Michael Hart was a visionary.  The university’s computer, it seems, was hooked into a system of computers and was one of fifteen nodes in a network of computers known as ARPANET, a network that years later would itself expand and blossom into what we now take for granted:  the internet.  There were approximately 100 users who, like Michael Hart, could download information from ARPANET.  I began using email in 1986, which was long before most people.  But, again, Mr. Hart had me beat – in 1971 the University of Illinois already had an early version of email that utilized ARPANET.  Hart put one and one together and saw the future. 

    Even at that the idea started out small.  It was, after all, July 4.  Hart had a copy of the Declaration of Independence that he carried with him. 
We were just coming up on the American Bicentennial and they put faux parchment historical documents in with the groceries. So, as I fumbled through my backpack for something to eat, I found the U.S. Declaration of Independence and had a lightbulb moment. I thought for a while to see if I could figure out anything I could do with the computer that would be more important than typing in the Declaration of Independence, something that would still be there 100 years later . . . .   
    So Hart sat down and typed the document into the computer only to find that it was too large for the rudimentary email system available on the network.  So Hart saved the document to the computer’s hard drive and provided his friends with the storage address, so that they could down load their own copies.  It is thought that of the 100 people who had access to data stored in ARPANET six actually downloaded the Declaration of Independence.

Volumes offered on Project Gutenberg by year
    From that rather inauspicious beginning came Project Gutenberg., which now offers the world’s largest collection of free on-line ebooks.  Early on Michael Hart typed in the text of all of the books that Project Gutenberg stored on-line.  By the mid 1980s the total was something over 300 books, comprised of older works such as the classics and the works of Mark Twain.  All were in the public domain, which meant that there were no royalties associated with distributing them freely.  From the mid-1980s on Hart began recruiting volunteers who also typed in the full texts of books.  By 1989 advancing technology allowed Project Gutenberg to begin scanning in books.  Currently over 39,000 works are available on line and it is estimated that Project Gutenberg adds books at the rate of over fifty books per week.

    While all of this is astonishing on its own, Michael Hart’s vision also laid the groundwork for today’s surge of epublications, ebooks and ereaders, such as the Kindle, the Nook and the Ipad.  And those, in turn, are bringing about an astonishing transformation in publishing, where marketing of new works of fiction and non-fiction can be offered directly to the reading public. 

    What makes all of this such an interesting story is, again, the prescience of Michael Hart, who came up with the idea when there were only 100 people on-line at the time who could have utilized the fruits of his labors.  As Hart said in 2011, “[s]omehow I had envisioned the net in my mind very much as it would become 30 years later.”  Remember also that back in 1971 there was no way for individuals outside of those with access to ARPANET to access computers and that, as noted above, the computer itself was hugely unwieldy and largely used for menial tasks – for processing data.  The first rudimentary desk top computers were still over ten years away; lap tops more than that.  And the reading devices such as Nook and Kindle that we more and more are relying upon to bring us our chosen reading material were approximately forty years away – hardly even a glimmer in the eye.

    It’s probably safe to say that Michael Hart not only anticipated the future, but also, through his efforts, helped to bring about that future -- our present.

    Michael Hart died last September, a little more than 40 years after he first typed the Declaration of Independence into that keyboard wired to a University of Illinois mainframe computer.  His legacy has been a revolution in literary independence that may be more profound than even he imagined. 

29 January 2012

Guilty of Abandonment and Worried


by Louis Willis

“Libraries are the homes of critical thought, of long-term cultural preservation, and of democratic access to knowledge. This can’t end with the Internet.” Nathan Torkington ‘Where It All Went Wrong’.
Buying books and doing research online has made me feel guilty for having, for the last four or five years, neglected, no abandoned, my local library. I worry that libraries, like dinosaurs, might become extinct, and eBooks will replace pBooks. 

In the article from l which I took the above quotation, Nathan Torkington in his address to the National and State Librarians of Australasia in Auckland argues that libraries must catch up with the digital age, especially for researchers. He notes that libraries no longer have a monopoly on research and that the younger generations will increasingly do their research online.

In November, I read another article online (forgot to copy the URL or the name of the author) about how libraries get rid of old books through sales or destruction to make room for newer books. I thought that libraries sold old books or gave them to charity but never considered the fact that they destroy them. I am what the author calls an absolutist, and I hate the very idea of destroying books, even those by obscure authors on esoteric subjects.

The two articles made me think about the Lawson McGhee Library here in Knoxville. I got my first library card at the Cansler Branch for Colored when I was 9 or 10. The summer when I was 12, I dreamed of becoming a major league baseball player, and checked out as many books as I was allowed on baseball, one of which introduced me to Wee Willie Keeler. He taught me, a small guy like him, how to “hit’em where they ain’t.” I learned that libraries where I could get book to learn how to do just about anything, and could also study African American history. 

Whenever I moved to a new city, one of the first thing I would do was get a library card. The first big library I visited was the Chicago Public Library. Walking among the stacks was what I expect heaven to be like if I make it through the Pearly Gate. I next visited the library in Chicago that houses books by and about African Americans to do research for an undergraduate project in American Literature. It was truly a delightful surprise: a building full of books about Black people.

Last year, the Lawson McGhee Library System celebrated its 125th anniversary. I last visited the main library downtown in 2006 or 2007, and the branch library in my community of Burlington in 2008. I feel guilty that I stopped attending the yearly book sale at which time I bought as many books as I could carry in a plastic bag for three dollars. It was my way of contributing to the library fund.

Lawson McGhee has embraced the digital age. I knew that it lent audio books and DVDs, but I was surprised to learn that it lends eBooks, and that the main library and several branches have wireless Internet access for customers, and also provide computers and Microsoft Office for public use. My New Year pledge to the library will be my physical attendance again at the book sales and occasional borrowing of books, including eBooks. I’ll have to be careful about borrowing eBooks, however, because I might  continue the bad habit of not visiting the library in person.

The upside to borrowing eBooks is you don’t have to worry about them being overdue and find yourself in the situation as a five year old girl did in Massachusetts.

On January 4, 2012 the Guardian published a story about a five- year-old girl In a small Massachusetts town who had two overdue library books. The police “…swooped on the home of” the little girl. Seeing the police, she stared crying and asked her mother if the policeman was going to arrest her. If she had checked out eBooks, maybe no cops would have “swooped” on her home.
I worry but refuse to believe that eBooks will replace pBooks, and the Internet will replace libraries. Of course, some politician might decide one day that Internet libraries cost less than real libraries in real buildings.