Tuesday News: Ebook re-selling and lending; vivid illustration of institutional racism, and pet spying 101
Used eBook Site Tom Kabinet Wins 3 Week Stay of Execution – If you’ve been following the case of the Dutch ebook reseller Tom Kabinet, it just got more interesting. Publishers filed a September appeal to the July decision that the business was not violating any Dutch copyright laws by allowing readers to sell DRM-free ebooks to each other – the model on which Tom Kabinet is built. The new decision was supposed to be announced this week, apparently, but has been pushed out to the middle of January, with no particular reason provided. Tom Kabinet has already defied many expectations and should they win this round, it’s going to be fascinating to see how they do at the broader level of the European Union.
As a result of that German ruling, the resale of ebook licenses is legal in the Netherlands but illegal in Germany. That contradiction works to the publishers’ advantage because should they lose this appeal, they will have a chance to argue the case before an EU court. –The Digital Reader
E-book lending changing Twin Cities libraries – Speaking of digital books. . . thanks in part to the popularity of phone and tablet applications, libraries are seeing a rise in digital lending. Take, for example, Minnesota public libraries, which are seeing a significant boost in ebook reading, with an attendant drop in physical book circulation. The library uses both Overdrive and 3M lending systems, and 3M’s Marketing Manager Tom Mercer notes that libraries stay on top of what’s popular and what’s new in book releases.
Mercer said a half million patrons have borrowed about 3 million books this year across 3M’s online system in the U.S. and Canada.
Overdrive said Minneapolis and its suburbs rank 5th in size in the nation for ebook lending. In Hennepin County alone, library officials expect people to check out one million e-books this year, compared to a typical total annual circulation of 16 million.
People of all ages and backgrounds are reading e-books, said Michele McGraw, information services manager for Hennepin County Library. –MPR News
This is a jar full of major characters – There was a brief discussion in the comments to yesterday’s news post about Ridley Scott’s casting choices in Exodus. When people wonder about why whitewashing in films is worthy of pointing out and protesting, this demonstration using two bowls of chocolate covered raisins is both easy to understand and extremely effective in its visual impact.
When we talk about this kind of racism, or even racialism (which are related but not the same thing), it’s not that individuals are thinking in an overtly racist way. It’s a function of institutional racism, whereby systems are structured to empower certain groups (read: white people) over others. There is a pretty good introduction to systemic racism here, and although it relies on a black/white dichotomy, the general principles apply more broadly.
This is also something to take in consideration when creating new characters. When you create a white character you have already, by the context of the larger culture, created a character with at least one feature that is not going to make a difference to the narratives at large. But every time you create a new character of color, you are changing something in our world. –Tumblr/timemachineyeah
Spying on your pet is now easy (and addictive) with Petcube – This story brought to mind Theresa Weir’s Girl with the Cat Tattoo for some reason. Anyway, for $200 you can buy this little device that lets you watch your pet from work or wherever all day long. Having wasted a number of hours watching the Shiba Inu cam, I can see how this might become pretty irresistible, although the Petcube allows you to interact with your cat or dog and even share still pics of them with your online friends.
Anyone can follow your posts on the Petcube social network, but you can also designate people as “friends” and “family,” and allow them to access your Petcube camera, laser and speaker at specific days and times. There is also the option to make your Petcube public for a specified number of minutes. Only one person can access it at a time.
Like Dropcam and other home security devices, the Petcube does raise some privacy questions. I aimed it right at my couch, which gave it a good view of my entire living room. That meant Hobbes was almost always in the shot, but so was anyone at home. At the very least, the Petcube notes it is filming by switching a light on its front to blue. –Gigaom
$200 to watch Clancy sleep? I can just stare at a still photo for fee, LOL!
Free, not fee. *sigh*
Hennepin County does a great job with their digital library but it does make it pretty obvious which publishers window ebooks or don’t allow digital library lending at all. The 3M and Overdrive libraries have lots of overlap which probably helps with popular titles being available in a more timely manner. I just wish they didn’t have to rely so heavily on Adobe Digital Editions for their epub lending. I don’t trust Adobe at all.
I spend enough time watching my dog in person. Plus I suspect if I started talking to my dog from a cube, but wasn’t actually there, it would cause him more anxiety than my being away does.
That may be the most powerful jar of raisins I’ve ever contemplated. Thank you.