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How the e-book landscape is becoming a walled garden

GigaOm – ” Just as a few massive chain stores eventually came to dominate the traditional printed book market in North America, the e-book marketplace is a kind of oligopoly involving a few major players — primarily Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble. And while bookstore owners of all kinds are free to decide which books they wish to put on their shelves, these new giants have far more control over whose e-books see the light of day because they also own the major e-reading platforms, and they are making decisions based not on what they think consumers want to read but on their own competitive interests. That is turning the e-book landscape into even more of a walled garden.”

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Libraries of the future? With Chicago’s new library commissioner taking over this month, one prototype library design offers a solid mix of form and function while another falls short

Chicago Tribune – “What should a 21st Century library look like? To ask that question is to conjure futuristic visions–of libraries that resemble sleek Apple stores; of librarians who stroll around their branches with computer tablets, and of robots that stack books in shelves, provided, of course, there still are books. Such issues are no longer academic, not with a new library commissioner heading to Chicago, especially one from digitally-savvy San Francisco.”

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Toronto libraries a step closer to striking

Globe & Mail – “Toronto is inching closer to a springtime strike, with the clock now ticking toward a work stoppage at the public library and talks with the city’s inside workers described as “slow.” The province issued a “no-board” report Thursday, meaning 2,300 library employees will be in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. March 18.”

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Harry Potter and the Future of Public Libraries

Time – “The Harry Potter website known as Pottermore has been beset by delays. But there is some good news. When the portal launches later this year, its stock of JK Rowling e-books and digital audiobooks will be available to public library members. This coup for borrowers was the result of an agreement between Pottermore and OverDrive, the largest distributor of digital content to libraries. But OverDrive is more than just a library partner. It also will provide the sales platform for buyers to purchase e-books on Pottermore.

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Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Grows to Over 100,000 Titles, Over 1 Million Borrowed

Press Release – “The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library continues to grow rapidly, now offering more than 100,000 books that Amazon Prime members with Kindles can borrow for free—including over 100 New York Times Best Sellers like The Hunger Games trilogy—as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates. “Kindle Owners’ Lending Library continues to grow rapidly – with over 100,000 titles, customers can choose to borrow a variety of breakout, best-selling titles for free, including ‘Nobody’ by Creston Mapes, ‘The Walk’ by Lee Goldberg and ‘Abducted’ by Theresa Ragan, as well as Kindle Singles from best-selling authors Andy Borowitz, Karin Slaughter and Mishka Shubaly,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. “It’s also become a meaningful way to grow royalties for authors like Patricia Hester, who sold less than 200 books in 2011 prior to joining KDP Select and has now earned over $36,000 from KDP Select in one month as readers have discovered her books through this service.”

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Legally Ginger: Local’s Resident Redheads “Sneak” Into The NYU Law Library

NYULocal – “Vanderbilt Hall, home of NYU Law School, has always struck us as being oddly out of place. Its quaint brick courtyard framed by wrought iron gates and redbrick archways is something out of Princeton or Harvard; there’s a definite Ivy League feel. But there’s just one problem- the school’s library is notoriously hard to get into. We had to try. But how?”

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Judge Hears Arguments on Mandatory E-Filing

Courthouse News – ” No decision was reached in a hearing on a slew of motions in the class action against LexisNexis Courtlink and Fulton County, challenging mandatory electronic filings of lawsuits through the private company. Filings at the heart of the Feb. 21 hearing were Fulton County’s request for summary judgment based on sovereign immunity, and plaintiffs’ attorney Steven Newton’s requests to add Fulton County clerks to the list of defendants, and to add three class representatives as plaintiffs.”

(Note: LexisNexis Courtlink is not a private company. It is a division of LexisNexis, itself a subsidiary of Reed Elsevier, a public company)

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Harry Potter eBooks to Be Distributed to Public and School Libraries Through OverDrive

Press Release – “Pottermore, the online experience and home of the Harry Potter eBooks created by J.K. Rowling and partnered by Sony, announced today it has entered into an exclusive worldwide eBook and digital audiobook distribution agreement with OverDrive for public and school libraries. Under the terms of the agreement, OverDrive, a leading global distributor of eBooks and digital audiobooks, will manage hosting and digital fulfillment for libraries for the Harry Potter collection of eBooks and digital audiobooks in English and more than 20 other languages to OverDrive’s growing network of over 18,000 public and school libraries worldwide.”

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World’s Oldest Holocaust Museum, in London, Gets New Life

NYT – ” In a sun-drenched room overlooking Russell Square, a visitor’s eye is immediately drawn to a display of cheerful coloring books, a brightly colored board game and photographs of laughing children. On closer inspection, the children in one photo can be seen crowding around a cake decorated with a swastika.”

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Athena’s Library, The Quirky Pillar Of Providence

NPR – “With a bit of reverence, librarians carefully wind an antique library clock near the circulation desk in a 19th century temple of learning called the Providence Athenaeum. This is one of the oldest libraries in the United States, a 19th-century library with the soul of a 21st-century rave party. In fact, the Rhode Island institution has been called a national model for civic engagement. A bust of the Greek goddess Athena surveys her realm from the open mezzanine above the main floor. Shafts of light fall gracefully through an atrium. A wrought-iron railing circles the upper floor and bookshelves, fronted by pillars and topped with busts of writers, giving the impression of holding up the ceiling. There’s still a card catalog.”

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