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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.
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    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Oh! For Goodness Sake!

    Well, that was my first reaction when I read David Rothman's headline - E-books will take off only when they’re free, says New York Times’ Futurist in Residence - in TeleRead.

    And what is a Futurist-in-Residence? The picture of Michael Rogers in TeleRead suggested we do not take this Eric Morecambe-like figure with his suit collar turned up in a rakish way very seriously, but this was quickly dispelled by his home page which describes him as:
    One of the nation's leading experts on the impact of technology on business and society, he is Futurist-in-Residence for The New York Times Company, as well an interactive media pioneer, novelist and journalist.
    (Jacket collar firmly down!) But - following on so soon from my last post, I was still irritated at the quote - just one of nine predictions in a Sky news report - until I read
    The TeleRead take: Ad-supported books would be helpful, given many surfers’ identification of E with “free.”
    It's not the wrong prognosis, it's the right prognosis given users' misplaced view that e-books should be free on the Web. I'm not sure why there is this expectation - I don't think many reasonable people would expect books to be free on Amazon, and they certainly sell a shed-load of books!

    It's just another delivery mechanism; and another way of reading. That's all. You either pay to have a book delivered by mail in a few days or you pay to have it immediately on your reader. Swings and roundabouts - you take your choice.

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