Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Embracing eBooks - Embracing our Future

I am a WIRED geek. If I read nothing else, I always read WIRED Magazine cover-to-cover every month. This month I read a short article which struck a nerve: Abandon Ownership! Join the Rentership Society! by Chris Suellentrop (Wired November 2010).

Suellentrop talks about a paradigm shift between an Ownership Society, as in home ownership, and a Rentership Society. He praised the idea of renting (houses, cars, DVDs), as a smarter choice that gives users more flexibility in our lives and allows more fluidity when we are reacting to change.

The library has this down. We are all about renting books, renting DVDs, renting computers and renting rooms. Appropriately, the killer sentence in this article, for me, was:

"The winner of the ebook sweepstakes will be the bookseller who becomes a book renter."

He goes on to say, " I don’t want to own hundreds of books on a Kindle at $10 a pop. I want to Netflix them — pay for access to every book ever published. I’d rather be a renter in Borges’ library than the owner of my own."

Why can't we win the ebook sweepstakes? We have the system set up already. It is time to focus our efforts to purchase ebooks that can be read on ebook readers: Kindle, Nook, and the iPad. We don't have to cover every technology that is out there, we just need to bet on the horse that is already winning.

If we are going to reinvent ourselves to stay alive and stay current, this is how to do it. We can make this happen. After all, we have been rocking the "Rentership Society" for thousands of years.

1 comment:

  1. Which eReader/s do you recommend? Some, like the Kindle, do not allow downloads from public libraries. The Nook, Barnes and Noble's eReader, does. Sony, I believe, also allows library downloads. Do you see a time in the very near future when epubs will be the universal standard and Kindle converting to this? As Kindle now has the the largest market share I wonder what there incentive to change policy might be. Any thoughts?