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eBook-List Discussion List

                   _eBook-List Discussion List_

  In reponse to my recent posting regarding the identification,
acquisition and management of WebBooks, it was suggested that perhaps a
separate discussion list be established to address these and related
issues for libraries. In investigating if a current list existed, I
(re)discovered the _eBook-List_ mailing list. As stated in its Welcome

   _eBooks-List_ "is open to all individuals and organizations interested
in developing, researching, producing, authoring, publishing,
distributing, reading, and even dreaming about electronic books.  That
should include just about everybody!"


"The primary long-term goal of EBook-List is to create a unified community
of individuals and organizations (both commercial and non-profit) which
will promote the continued research, development and marketing of
electronic books, composing and viewing software for computers, and
portable electronic book readers."

"A sample list of topics to discuss on EBook-List include, among *many*

1) The electronic publishing formats currently available that could be
used for producing electronic book titles.  What are their comparative
advantages and disadvantages?  Does there now exist the "ideal"  format?

2) Should a "standardized" electronic book format be developed for the
long-term future?  Is it even possible?

3) The advantages and disadvantages of electronic books over their paper
cousins -- present and future.  What are the social ramifications when (or
"if", for the skeptics out there) electronic books become dominant in our

4) What will the electronic book reader of the future look like?  What
technology development is required to make such readers attractive to the
point that electronic books will become dominant over paper books?  How
many years from now will this happen?  Do we have the technology today to
make a marketable portable electronic book reader, or do we have to wait
for substantially cheaper and much higher resolution flat screens to be

5) Network vs. local access of electronic books.  Do consumers prefer to
actually possess their own copy to store on their own computer/reader
rather than pay to access it elsewhere over a network?

6) Publishing issues:  Will electronic book publishing allow authors to
gain more control over their works?  Will it allow authors to bypass
publishers and self-publish?  How will electronic book titles of the
future be marketed -- over the Internet or via portable media like CD-ROM
and its successors?  How will the electronic book consumer be able to sort
through the expected huge number of electronic book titles produced
outside of the "big" publishers?

7) Copyright/security/encryption issues:  Is it possible to develop
electronic books and readers that provide copyright security to authors
and publishers, such as the use of machine-specific passwords (e.g.,
SoftLock), data encryption, etc.?"

To subscribe, send e-mail to ebook-list@mabooks.com.  In the Subject: line
add the word "subscribe" (but without the quotes).  Leave the message blank.

In the average day, there are probably a dozen or so postings, typically
list. [This weeks top topic is the recently announced Rocket e-Book from
NuvoMedia][BTW: There was a review of the Rocket e-Book in the "Circuits"
section of the _New York Times_ on Thursday, October 29, 1998]

    It response to my posting about WebBooks on the list earlier this week
I received a response that acknowledged and recognized the potential role
that libraries and librarians should play in the evolution of the
E-Book/WebBook and which encouraged wider cooperation among developers,
publishers, and librarians.


/Gerry McKiernan
Theoretical Librarian 
Iowa State University 
Ames IA 50011


  	"The Best Way to Predict the Future is To Invent It!"
				Alan Kay