The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights is a statement of the basic freedoms that should be granted to all eBook users.

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

Every eBook user should have the following rights:

  • the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
  • the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
  • the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
  • the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

I believe in the free market of information and ideas.

I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can flourish when their works are readily available on the widest range of media. I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can thrive when readers are given the maximum amount of freedom to access, annotate, and share with other readers, helping this content find new audiences and markets. I believe that eBook purchasers should enjoy the rights of the first-sale doctrine because eBooks are part of the greater cultural cornerstone of literacy, education, and information access.

Digital Rights Management (DRM), like a tariff, acts as a mechanism to inhibit this free exchange of ideas, literature, and information. Likewise, the current licensing arrangements mean that readers never possess ultimate control over their own personal reading material. These are not acceptable conditions for eBooks.

I am a reader. As a customer, I am entitled to be treated with respect and not as a potential criminal. As a consumer, I am entitled to make my own decisions about the eBooks that I buy or borrow.

I am concerned about the future of access to literature and information in eBooks. I ask readers, authors, publishers, retailers, librarians, software developers, and device manufacturers to support these eBook users’ rights.

These rights are yours. Now it is your turn to take a stand. To help spread the word, copy this entire post, add your own comments, remix it, and distribute it to others. Blog it, Tweet it ( #ebookrights), Facebook it, email it, and post it on a telephone pole.

To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work

101 Free Tech Books

A couple of months ago I wrote about 101 Free Tech Books for you all. This month I want to remind you that this site is a must for anyone interested in technology or getting free books! Because of my previous post I just won five free tech books! This will bring my count of free books to 7 since signing up in the fall (and have seen my librarian friends get free books too). For all of the librarians reading this, sign up and try to get some updated books for your collections!!

Nook Color Review

This Christmas I got a Nook Color from my hubby and mother. I’ve been using it for a few days and I think it’s time to share my opinions.

First things first, if you have an ebook reader you must download Calibre. Calibre is an open source ebook management application that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux (a flavor for everyone). It’s a great way to convert files from one format to another, to manage all of your books and to download news from the web to your reader.

I have started with a bunch of free and public domain materials (nothing purchased yet). I chose the Nook over other alternatives because it could open so many formats of ebook and it runs on the Android operating system so that gives me some options for openness should I decide to root the device (a practice that has recently been declared legal). However I have found some downsides to the supposed openness of the Nook. While I can read materials purchased or downloaded from other sites, these materials are treated like second class citizens on the Nook. What do I mean? Well my EPubs and PDFs can’t be mounted on the home screen. I can only access these materials by browsing my shelves or files. I also can’t use the built in social networking functionality on materials that are not from Barnes & Noble. Basically I can read these materials, but they’re harder to get to and not as functional.

I’m reading The Art of Community right now and have just figured out how to highlight passages (a big plus). I can also access all of my highlights and notes in one menu. Now for the minus – I can’t find a way to download or share these quotes. If this were a Barnes and Noble publication I could share the quotes one by one with the ‘share’ function, but because this is a PDF (converted to Epub in Calibre) I can just highlight and that’s the end of it. This seems like a huge oversight on the part of Barnes and Noble (or maybe just an anti-feature put in place to make me want to root the darn thing).

Regarding reading on the device, I like it! It’s not E Ink and some people might be turned off by that, but I altered the brightness, font, and background color so that it’s not too harsh on my eyes. I like how each it is to turn the pages and find your bookmarks or highlighted passages. A neat feature we found last night was the ability to search a dictionary for a highlighted word. I can also search for it in Google or Wikipedia (if connected to the wifi).

My overall review is that I’m happy I have the Nook Color and as each day goes by I get closer and closer to wanting to root it so that I can have a truly open system (like I thought I was getting). If you happen to have more knowledge than me please comment here so that I can learn even more about my Nook.

Add Free Ebooks to your Catalog

This came across a few lists I’m on today and I thought it would be beneficial to some of you. Using the file that some Colorado Libraries have created you can import a batch of freely available ebook classics to your system. More info here:

The Colorado Library Consortium created a project to clean up the most popular MARC records from Project Gutenberg called eDiscover the Classics. We identified the top 500 or so downloads and cleaned up those records and made them available to other libraries. We launched the website a few weeks at:

Since that time the records have been further enhancements by Douglas County Libraries and University of Denver. If you have already downloaded the MARC records we encourage you to get the new set of records and reload them into your catalog. Here is a link explaining our clean-up efforts:

Please consider these MARC records a gift to the library community! The more patrons think of libraries as a source for content for their Kindles, Nooks, IPads, MP3 players, etc – the better!

Valerie Horton

Get yourself some free tech books

Tech books are expensive! A few months ago I signed up for to try and offset some of that cost. It only took me a month before I won my first tech book!! Basically, you sign up, put some books on your wish list and then if you win you get one of the books shipped to your for free. You really can’t beat it. So, just a quick tip for all you techies and librarians who want to learn to be techies :) Sign up at – you’ve got nothing to lose and lots of awesome books to gain.

Do I need an ebook reader?

There seem to be two schools of thought on the ebook reader front. The first is “I love my books I don’t need a computer to read them” and the other is “Woo Hoo! How did I live without this?”

I am in limbo between the two and so I figured I’d go through the back and forth I keep hearing in my head and let my trusted colleagues push me one way or the other.

First, I am in love with my books – the fact that my boxes of books took up like half of our moving truck is a testament to that. On the other hand I’m a total techie and love gadgets. I can see the practical uses for an ebook reader when it comes to non fiction titles, but do I really need it for my fiction titles? Then I think, do I want an ebook reader or a tablet (aka iPad or Android tablet). I know that the ebook reader has the eInk and is readable in all kinds of light, and the tablet isn’t, but the tablet can do a lot more for me than just let me read books. There’s also the fact that I travel all of the time and have to decide what books to bring based on how much they weigh instead of what I really want to read.

As you can see I’m a bit scattered in my thoughts on this and I’d love to hear what you all think of the devices you have – or don’t have!

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You must earn your place in communities

I’m reading ‘Trust Agents‘ by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith right now and I have to say I’m learning a lot! One part that I feel bears repeating here (that I didn’t learn from the book – but from real life) is about joining communities – the right way.

I think the following quote from the book applies to many of the things I teach librarians (social networking, web 2.0 and of course open source), and while it focuses on business, it applies very much to us as well.

Simply too many companies attempt to jump into the fray on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and immediately endeavor to peddle their wares. They don’t realize that we all know each other, that we recognize the new stranger in our midst and that we are feeling “marketed to” long before we’ve been properly introduced. 1

As I stated before, even though this mentions specific networks, it applies just as equally to open source networks/communities.

Earlier in the book, Chris and Julien talk about how companies (and libraries) can screw up when joining or participating in an existing community – and how to fix it!

In most cases, the way to fix misunderstandings and earn back respect requires asserting the appropriate combination of deference, respect, and humility. If you are genuine in your efforts, the next step after realizing that the community has pushed back is to apologize. Even if you feel you’re in the right, stat by saying, “I’m sorry.” Next, be humble and learn what the community is teaching … The most important element is a consistent stream of communication back to the “wronged” individuals in the community. 2

And to that I’d add a quote from Wikinomics by Dan Tascott and Anthony Williams:

Critiquing the community is a right reserved for those who have proved themselves by making valuable contributions.3.

As library professionals we often stick to reading/studying things specifically geared to us, but I find it often helpful to branch out and read books that have been categorized as ‘business’ books because we can learn just as much from them. As I finish reading ‘Trust Agents’ I may have more to share with you all.

1. Brogan, Chris, and Julien Smith. “You must earn your place in communities.” In Trust Agents, 106-108. Rev Upd. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 2010.
2.———. “How to screw up (and how to fix it).” In Trust Agents, 100-101. Rev Upd. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 2010.
3. Tapscott, Don, and Anthony D. Williams. “Embracing open source culture and strategy.” In Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything, 82-83. Expanded Edition. New York, NY: Penguin USA, 2008.

Practical Open Source Software for Libraries

I am happy to announce that Practical Open Source Software for Libraries, my second book, has been published and is available for purchase in the US from Neal-Schuman Publishers and in the rest of the world from Chandos Publishing.

If you happen to write a review online please send me the link and I’ll add it to the official book site. I want to yet again thank Chris Cormack for his inspiration and all the time he took over the years to help teach and mentor me! Without him this book would have been written by someone else.

Deals & Freebies

Yesterday I was stumbling around the web and came across a site I hadn’t heard of before called 101 Free Tech Books. They have a raffle once a month and give away print tech books (not e-books) to the winners. If you’ve bought a book on programming or computers lately you know that these books can add up in cost pretty quickly. I haven’t won anything yet, so I don’t know how easy it is to snag one of these books, but it seems like a pretty awesome idea and worth giving it a try to get free books!

This second site isn’t so much technology related, but I have recently become a fan of a pretty cool deal site called Groupon and thought that some of you might find it interesting. Basically you sign up to get deals in your area, called Groupons (like coupons for a group) and if enough people promise to buy the Groupon the deal is on. I recently got a Groupon for $110 worth of photobooks for only $25 (a technology-ish type deal).

Finally and most awesome – if you want to learn more about finding deals and saving money you should checkout my friend Rachel and her awesome Mashup Mom site & her newest book Point, Click, and Save.

Patron’s Book Browsing Habits

I got this email from a cousin of mine and I really wanted to share it with you all and see what you’ve experienced.

Just got back from the library choosing a couple of “relaxing” books. As I browsed, I had these thoughts and then decided I’d send them to the family librarian :).

Has anyone ever done a study about how people choose a book to check out? If one goes to the library with no particular book or author in mind, is she influenced by the appearance of the book—pictures on the spine, looks new/old, likes the pictures on the cover? And what about those books that have part of the title or the author’s name covered by the shelving sticker? (Don’t know what you really call that sticker, but you know the one–author, call number where applicable, etc.)

Do people pull the book off the shelf to see the rest of the words on the cover? Then there are the books on the top shelf above your head and on the bottom shelf down by the floor. Are they checked out as much as the ones on the middle shelves that can be viewed easily? Would you rather have a book that has something about the story on the back cover or one that doesn’t give you a hint?

I know I have a tendency to choose newer-looking books with pleasant covers. I’d only pull the book off the shelf if the words I could see on the spine sounded interesting. I’d rarely choose a book on the top shelf because I’d have to go hunt up a step stool. Sometimes I get one off the bottom shelf if I can see the title without having to get down on the floor. (At my age, I might have to just STAY on the floor!) And I like that info on the back–just in case it’s about something I don’t want to read about. I

know–I have too much time on my hands! I should use it to think about world problems or something. Ha! If I wrote a book, I’d want it to have a pretty cover and be on a middle shelf–preferably in the Large Print section so I could see the words! :)

I thought this was great. I didn’t go looking for any particular research on the topic because I was out of town and just got home, but I love starting with my fellow librarians anyway! What do you all think? What have you seen patrons doing? What do you do?

I personally will get on the floor (and sit down there for as long as it takes) if the shelve of books on the topic I want is down there. I don’t pay any attention to spine labels – except to find the location of a specific book. When it comes to fiction I too look for pretty or new covers – but if the book doesn’t have a summary – as so many new books seem to be missing – I won’t borrow or buy the book … I need to know what the darn thing is about – not what some other author thought of the book.