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razz
12-31-10, 3:06pm
I am reading in several sources that newspapers are facing extermination over the next decade since so many, like me, get their news online. We still have a subscription to the local paper for local news and obits;)

Apparently, TV is not getting the expected number of 'eyeballs' either so advertisers are looking elsewhere.

Between the e-books like Kindle etc., even libraries are forecast to be places to warm oneself. Having a hard time with this concept but definitely books are declining in number and in volume of donations to fundraising booksales.

Is this good for the environment? Are e-books the solution or part of a problem of disposal?

Looking for ideas and perspectives on this.

Stella
12-31-10, 6:08pm
I don't think books will go away completely, but newspapers really are having a tough time of it.

I think it will be interesting to see how the landscape changes over the next several decades. I mostly like that publishing has gone from being something only a select few can really afford to do to something more readily available to the masses.

I'm not sure about the environmental impact of e-readers. That's a good question and something I hadn't really thought about.

puglogic
12-31-10, 7:16pm
I work at our local library, and can't see that it will ever go away as a result of e-books. The people we serve are people like SL'ers here, who don't want to pay for a book themselves if they can share it with others (or a CD, or a DVD, or a book on disc). We also help the community get online, learn how to use computers, write resumes, search for jobs, do research, find financial information, and learn useful and marketable skills. The shrill "no-taxes" folks might eventually gut the system, but if they do I think it would be a real disservice to the people who use this public resource wisely.

dado potato
12-31-10, 7:48pm
I subscribe to the NYTimes Sunday print edition. I can take 3-4 days to read all the articles I am interested in. (It isn't what I would call "hot news"). As a subscriber I also have online access to the daily electronic edition. Recently I viewed more than 200 photos (among close to 500 that were available) of the snowstorm online. Maybe the future of viable newspapers is some sort of combination of print & online journalism... figuring out a way for advertisers as well as subscribers to pay for value received.

puglogic, I doubt that libraries ever will be able to show objectively all the value that they contribute to a community. And, I am sad to say you may be right: under fiscal strain I can foresee library closures in the future. FWIW, I (like Harry S Truman) learned more from library books than I learned in school (1960-1972). But libraries do not confer degrees, as colleges do. For about 8 years after I graduated from university I continued to frequent libraries, and to read voraciously. After that, I went to libraries mainly as a parent with a kid in tow. And now, whenever the grand-kids are here, one of the stops is always the library.

Jilly
12-31-10, 9:01pm
I volunteer at our library, and I do not see it going away anytime soon. Our library is planning on opening a satellite location to better serve our patrons. Even with budgetary cuts throughout our municipalities, there is always a way to find the funds you need. Well, at least so far.>8)

Simplemind
12-31-10, 10:39pm
I read the newspaper every morning with a cup of coffee. If I am out of coffee I can't read the newspaper. If the newspaper doesn't get delivered then I won't put the coffee on until they bring it to my door. Sure I could try to read it online but I don't like it in that format. My eyes tire of the computer screen quickly. I can read a good old fashioned book or newspaper for hours. Oh God....... I have turned into my mother!

kib
12-31-10, 10:54pm
Well, as far as this cheapskate is concerned, until they make ebooks free to download the library has no worries. I hear some places like the library in Toronto actually have a good ebook "lending" library (you download a book but then it goes away after a while), and that could conceivably be the next direction of libraries. Our newspaper ... is currently shooting itself in the foot, I think. It's forcing people to pay for an online subscription OR a home delivery, and from what I'm hearing, people are just getting their news elsewhere.

Personally I'd be really sad to see our library disappear, it's a grand old building, a great place to get warm, and it has free wifi.

catherine
1-1-11, 6:19am
I have a Luddite son (30 years old--last one I personally know to get a cell phone and a TV). We gave him a Kindle for Christmas and he took it SO grudgingly, and only after he had gone over in his mind all of the philosophical implications of owning one. We talked about the decline of print in general, and libraries, coming to the conclusion that perhaps libraries will someday simply be repositories for archiving books, like the Library of Congress. However, that probably won't be until there are sources for free access to e-books and magazines.

I love the ability to flip pages and scan content with real newspapers (unless I'm on a crowded bus or train, where you have to learn how to fold the paper in a way that doesn't disturb anyone)--but I simply don't buy them anymore. I think e-newspapers are so much more green, so it really doesn't bother me to see them going that way. I just shudder to think of what will happen if we lose our power sources and ALL the information we need that's stored on microchips will be completely inaccessible. To me, that's the only real downside.

earthshepherd
1-1-11, 6:32am
I have a Sony reader, and I liked it for a while, but I missed the tactile experience of curling up with a paperback book, turning the pages, using all my homemade bookmarkers. It's like other online stuff. I love chatting with my sister but I need to call her sometimes just to hear her voice, even if nothing we say is news because we already chatted it to each other online! Books are like that too. My reader is fine, but it lacks a dimension that I find is integral for me.

AmeliaJane
1-1-11, 7:05am
I think there is always going to be a market for well-done journalism, but the model of providing it on paper and ferrying it around on trucks is getting outmoded. I recently lived in Seattle where commercial neighborhood blogs were thriving. I used mine all the time--it provided what a good local paper did in terms of reporting on crime, local events, profiles of local people, news about utilities and construction projects, even some investigative articles--way better and faster than the local paper, which had to cover the whole Puget Sound region. I would have paid for a subscription, actually, but the challenge with new media is you have to have access for free for awhile to understand the value.

I also don't think libraries are going to disappear any time soon...my current city has a lot of poverty, and e-reading is way too expensive for a good chunk of the library patrons. Plus little kids need books--who wants to let a toddler get their hands on a $150 e-reader? But even someday...libraries are about connecting people with information, and that is always going to need to happen.

Bootsie
1-1-11, 7:33am
I feel like we're living on the cusp of real change - the role of actual BOOKS and printed material is changing quickly. I don't have an e-reader yet, but I'm sure I will soon. I live in such a small home that saving space on my shelves does have appeal. And, as someone pointed out, good writing will always be needed, no matter what the format.

The library is a central part of our lives. My husband's art has been exhibited at our library, and my kids and I regularly visit a number of different branches. The librarians have been true allies in my homeschooling research - I really value having them available to me (and for FREE...with a smile!). My kids have been participating in programs at the libraries since they were babies and continue to do so even now when my eldest is entering the teen years. We love the library! But, I have thought about how out-moded an entire building filled with books is going to seem in the coming years. I am hoping the library "industry" is looking ahead and planning for how it will change and not simply become places that serve "old" people and toddlers. (Our library does offer e-books for borrowing.)

As for the newspaper, our local neighborhood newspaper is vibrant and remains free. They do have an online version as well as free hardcopies on street corners and even a free subscription that I receive. Because the news is so relevant to me and the articles are good, I would shift to an online version if they decided to do that, but I enjoy the hardcopy edition now.

I do question whether e-readers are "greener" than printed books and newspapers. The manufacturing and disposal of all these electronic devices...how is that green? Has anyone seen any data comparing the two? Even though I'm rather slow gathering electronic devices, sometimes I feel my body is surrounded by something electronic and can't help but wonder how healthy that is.

I reluctantly accept that newspapers and perhaps books will disappear and I do appreciate that publishing is now open to anyone, not just people with money and power, but the speed of the change is rather overwhelming. And it is scary to be dependent on something electronic.

Simplemind
1-1-11, 10:41am
My newspaper lives many lives after I read it. It helps start the woodstove and the ashes go in the compost. It helps clean the windows that line the back of my house from top to bottom. They also make nice little seed pots to start plants out in my green house.
Sob....................................... I will be so sad to see it go. I will offer my phone books that I no longer use as a hostage exchange !!!

Jinger
1-1-11, 2:23pm
My city just opened a new branch library and is planning a new central library to open in 2014...I'm sure it will look very different from libraries of the past with more focus on technology, but to me, it's a good thing. The world as we know it changes. I, too, loved my print newspaper, but have adapted to reading what I want online. I think print newspapers and many magazines will be gone in the not too distant future.

http://iliketomakethings.blogspot.com

JaneV2.0
1-1-11, 2:53pm
My library system, which is wholeheartedly supported by taxpayers whenever a vote is called for, already has e-readers available for checkout, along with material patrons can download to their own equipment (like MP3s). I hope there will always be dead-tree versions, at least of instructional materials, art books, photography collections, and the like.

Glo
1-1-11, 3:34pm
We still get our morning nrwspaper daily; they don't have an electronic version or I'd subscribe to it. I bought an IPAD recently and I love it. Our state library will soon have e-books--even best sellers. So I'm looking forward to that.

Lainey
1-1-11, 3:47pm
One thing I've thought of in the transition from physical books on shelves to e-readers is what's going to happen to the serendipity of browsing? There's been many interesting books and magazines I've been introduced to just because I stumbled on them in the shelves while looking for something else.
I guess Amazon has that feature where you can see what other purchasers got when they bought the same item you want, but somehow it's still directing me to something vs. something just catching my eye. guess that makes me a Luddite, too..

jp1
1-1-11, 9:18pm
I think e-readers definitely have their place. Newspapers are a prime example of a dead tree printed item that doesn't need to kill trees. A beloved book that will be read over and over is a different story.

I expect that eventually, perhaps sooner than later, I will be able to check out e-books from my library and have the same vast selection that I currently have with their dead tree books. Once that happens I will get an e-reader of some sort. I already don't buy newspapers anymore, but I do print out articles from a couple dozen web sites that I read regularly. I'd consider getting an e-reader for that alone since I mostly read these things on the train.

As for newspapers specifically, if they don't figure out how to move beyond selling a physical product they will die. It's not the stack of pulp paper that makes them profitable or important, it's the information contained within. In the future I expect news will be sold differently. (ie, you can't just take your formerly printed paper that has everyting: local/national/sports/movie reviews/etc/etc/etc and plop it online and be successful.) News will become specialized. Much as an earlier poster commented about loving her local area blogs because they could focus on just her specific area, I love reading financial news on websites dedicated just to that specific topic. There's FAR more detail and different viewpoints then I could possibly find, even in a finance oriented newspaper such as the Wall Street Journal.

The recent wikileaks stuff is a prime example that news doesn't have to come from a newspaper. Anyone who cared to spend some time reading what was released has learned a boatload about things that our government is doing. I expect that soon enough (assuming that Julian Assange isn't assassinated or sent to prison) some intrepid 21st century journalist(s) will create a website called "wikileaks follow up" or something along those lines. It'll be stories by reporters who read the wikileaks leaks and then go do journalism to find out the truth and the story behind the various leaks. Personally, I'd even pay money for good quality journalism that did that. Sadly there doesn't seem to be anyone doing that currently. With wikileaks the mainstream press seem to be just a bunch of stenographers dully transcribing what was leaked and letting it be as if all these activities by our government are just run-of-the-mill everyday things that aren't worth looking into.

jp1
1-1-11, 9:27pm
On a related topic, I recall reading a few years ago about a focus group that several record company executives had. They invited a group of 18 year olds to come talk with them about how they obtained/listened to music. It was an effort on the execs part to turn around the major decline in cd sales that the record companies have faced during the last several years. Outside the room where the meeting was held the execs had set up a table piled high with cd's of all the latest popular music. As the teens were leaving they were invited to take as many cd's as they wanted. The biggest take-away learning moment the execs got from the meeting was the fact that not a single cd was taken from that table... Those kids didn't think of cd's as the way to obtain music and the sooner the music producers accept that and figure out how to distribute music the way young people want to receive it the more likely the music producers may survive another day.

How many kids, or even 20 or 30 year olds, actually read newspapers? The only people I know who actually read newspapers on a regular basis are a few people at work, all over the age of 50. I'm 43. Everyone I know my age or younger gets all their information online.

jp1
1-1-11, 9:31pm
One thing I've thought of in the transition from physical books on shelves to e-readers is what's going to happen to the serendipity of browsing? There's been many interesting books and magazines I've been introduced to just because I stumbled on them in the shelves while looking for something else.
I guess Amazon has that feature where you can see what other purchasers got when they bought the same item you want, but somehow it's still directing me to something vs. something just catching my eye. guess that makes me a Luddite, too..

The flip side of that is that browsing for different news sources is now MUCH easier. If I read an article on xyz.com that references an article on 123.com I can click through to it and if that article is engaging I will see what else 123.com has. I now follow about 20 different news and opinion web sites with varying viewpoints, all of them found because someone had linked to them and I followed the link.

axis9313
1-1-11, 11:15pm
Newspapers are just next in the line of things being turned into 0's and 1's. We had a transitional period where there were still physical objects such as CD's and DVD's (before the internet). Now it's more about internet based devices, such as cell phones, ipads, e-readers, and netflix streamers.

There is also the trend of the consumer being able to choose what they want to watch, read or listen to and when. Before, we had people who helped us decide what was good content. Now it's sort of up to the individual with help from software that tells us what's popular or what other people are buying, along with social networks putting a new spin on "word of mouth".

Content will always be king no matter what the medium is. We'll always need good music, good journalism, good stories, good movies, etc.

However, since we since we've already reached peak oil, it makes me wonder how long this golden age of 0's and 1's is going to last, if we don't get our act together regarding energy right quick.

It might be a good idea to hang onto a small library of real books that teach you how to garden, catch a fish, build a fire, set a bone, etc.

canadianrose
1-1-11, 11:49pm
I don't see libraries disappearing, if anything they are more important than ever. There is nowhere else that can be utilized as a town square, where people can meet in a clean, warm free space, to share ideas. Also, there will always be those in our society who would not be able to access resources, like information and technology, any other way.

As for newspapers, the local papers will never go away. I've always had a hard time finding local news on the net. It's the national dailies that will be hit the hardest.

AmeliaJane
1-2-11, 7:15am
The other role that I think librarians will increasingly play is helping people work through the vast ocean of information and resources to get to the good stuff. One development that has fascinated me over the last few years is the expansion of the word "curate" from what a museum staff member does to create an exhibit to mean "selecting or choosing the best or most interesting" so that stores, websites, playlists etc. are curated. Now that vast personal choice is a fact of life in so many areas, it also becomes clear that not everyone has the time, energy or expertise to choose and many want to subcontract that task...to real people, not algorithms.

I know school librarians and media specialists are spending increasing time these days teaching students to look critically at the Internet and understand the difference between a political blog and the Washington Post, or Wikipedia or the Encyclopedia Britannica online.

The other technology thing that libraries are wonderful for is giving us collective access to databases etc that aren't costeffective for individuals--scholarly research databases at the college level, or the NYTimes archives or the Oxford English Dictionary for the general public--similar to the way they hold those physical books and archives for us .

Mrs-M
1-2-11, 3:48pm
I don't hold a lot of hope for the survival of newspapers over the course of the next 5-10 years, but about a week ago CBC Radio had a wonderful segment on related to all things books and things (paperbacks, hardcovers, e-books, Kindle, etc), and although book sales have slumped the future forecast of traditional book sales as we all know them as being today is right on target and slated to continue (for the most part) uninterrupted, albeit changes will unfold.

I can't help but think of the many lucky people who through estate settlements, wills, and heirlooms, will inherit and be passed down vast collections (libraries) of real paper page books and in turn, add to those collections as a way of securing and affording future generations the opportunity to carry on enjoying traditional book reading and collecting as we all know it, assuring the survival of reading at it's best!

I may be a sucker for all things old and past, but nothing IMO reflects regal elegance, refinement, class, and grandeur, than a well appointed library handsomely designed and crafted in rich fine woodwork, it's shelves and nooks and arched alcoves neatly stuffed to the brim with an assortment and array of colourful gilt decorated and binded books, all reflected in the polished mill-work like a centuries old Renaissance work.

iris lily
1-2-11, 3:59pm
Th St. Louis Post Dispatch which coddles all liberal writers and is a proponant of all ideas that are "progressive" deserves to go. I continue to subscribe but their respect for those with opinions that are in opposition to their own is minimal. When they cut the last round of conservative national columnists, I subscribed to the National Review.

Still, I personally know a slug of people who are no longer working there, they are permenantly laid off.

The website of the PD is maddening. I expected to find complete election results on the Wednesday after the last election. Nope. I never did find their page of complete election results, I ended up going to the website of a local tv sation to find out which local initiatives passed. That is unforgiveable for a big city newspaper.

And in 2008 there was an election that they either reported incorrectly or left out, can't remember, but I called the political reporter about it and complained.

Zigzagman
1-2-11, 4:22pm
What happens when we go totally digital? Will we lose our identity? Will our lives become merely a bunch of octets on a storage device?

This is becoming almost surreal - no evidence of our existence other than a Google search.

Peace and Love .....2011

razz
1-2-11, 4:39pm
I don't hold a lot of hope for the survival of newspapers over the course of the next 5-10 years, but about a week ago CBC Radio had a wonderful segment on related to all things books and things (paperbacks, hardcovers, e-books, Kindle, etc), and although book sales have slumped the future forecast of traditional book sales as we all know them as being today is right on target and slated to continue (for the most part) uninterrupted, albeit changes will unfold.

I can't help but think of the many lucky people who through estate settlements, wills, and heirlooms, will inherit and be passed down vast collections (libraries) of real paper page books and in turn, add to those collections as a way of securing and affording future generations the opportunity to carry on enjoying traditional book reading and collecting as we all know it, assuring the survival of reading at it's best!I may be a sucker for all things old and past, but nothing IMO reflects regal elegance, refinement, class, and grandeur, than a well appointed library handsomely designed and crafted in rich fine woodwork, it's shelves and nooks and arched alcoves neatly stuffed to the brim with an assortment and array of colourful gilt decorated and binded books, all reflected in the polished mill-work like a centuries old Renaissance work.

I don't mean to disillusion you of the value of donation of good books but based on what has happened in our library system, there is a severe limit on items based on the electronic record inserted into the loan circulation collection items. These electronic record tags are expensive ($4/item?) and take time to insert in each book or library item. They do make self-checkout easy though.

The fact remains that most donated items unless required for the circulation collection will go into the library book sale, be disposed of, and gone forever. :(

Jonathan
1-2-11, 5:34pm
I agree. My local paper is thriving, and not just because of the coupons! As for the national dailies, who dat?

iris lily
1-2-11, 8:35pm
Well, as far as this cheapskate is concerned, until they make ebooks free to download the library has no worries. I hear some places like the library in Toronto actually have a good ebook "lending" library (you download a book but then it goes away after a while), and that could conceivably be the next direction of libraries. ...

Most libraries of size offer ebooks in some format, it's not unique to Canada, and then, there's project Gutenberg which has lots.

iris lily
1-2-11, 8:41pm
...puglogic, I doubt that libraries ever will be able to show objectively all the value that they contribute to a community. ..

There are methodologies for doing just that:

http://dpi.state.wi.us/pld/econimpact.html

AustinKat
1-3-11, 8:27am
One thing I've thought of in the transition from physical books on shelves to e-readers is what's going to happen to the serendipity of browsing? There's been many interesting books and magazines I've been introduced to just because I stumbled on them in the shelves while looking for something else.

Yes! This is exactly my objection (okay, one of them) to e-readers. People don't always know exactly what they want to read before they read it. There's a huge used bookstore near our house, and one of my favorite things is to walk over there and just wander aimlessly, browsing the books. New books, old books, silly books, serious books, trendy and trashy, beat-up and beautiful books.

I might see something I read when I was eight years old. I might see something with a clever title, what's that about? I might see something by an author I dimly recall being mentioned in...something I read about somewhere else, can't remember, but the cover looks interesting, let's flip through that for a minute...

If all this makes me a Luddite, then so be it. For me, books are not only a mental experience; they are also a physical one.

To get back to the thread topic: I have not subscribed to a paper for many years--I get news from several sources online, and am perfectly content with that. News is transient and ever-updating, so online is good for that. But books...books are solid. Books are permanent. I do not want them in a form that relies on a gadget to access them. I want the things themselves.

Gingerella72
1-3-11, 9:22am
I reluctantly accept that newspapers and perhaps books will disappear and I do appreciate that publishing is now open to anyone, not just people with money and power, but the speed of the change is rather overwhelming. And it is scary to be dependent on something electronic.

You said this perfectly and is exactly how I feel too. Right now the only way I could see an e-reader being relevant in my life would be if I traveled or was away from home a lot. Plus, I have a tendency to re-read books over and over, so that would mean I would have to repurchase all the books I already own so it could be in e-reader format. Who can afford to do that? And what about having to upgrade continually like what already happens with cell phones and computers? I don't want to have to continually shell out $150 bucks if the reader breaks, or gets stolen, or becomes obsolete, just to access my library. What about being able to lend a book to a friend?

I too have this fear that once we're all 100% digital and 100% dependent on it something catastrophic will happen to our power sources and we'll be up a creek.

mira
1-3-11, 1:00pm
puglogic, I doubt that libraries ever will be able to show objectively all the value that they contribute to a community.
Much research has already been done concerning this very issue (social/community impact studies). But of course, as libraries are seen by many local governments as non-essential resources (despite evidence for contributing to things like community cohesion, lifelong learning, etc), they end up at the bottom at the priority list as far as the budget is concerned.

Additionally, there are some people with lots of power but very little sense. My favourite example is of school principals getting rid of their school librarians and/or libraries because "Google provides us with all the information we need".

jp1
1-4-11, 6:44pm
My favourite example is of school principals getting rid of their school librarians and/or libraries because "Google provides us with all the information we need".

What a frustrating thing to hear. As someone mentioned earlier in the thread, sort of, it's not that the info isn't there freely available, it's that finding what you need is difficult. Without a school librarian who is going to teach the kids how to sort through and find the relevant info. Being able to sort the crap out from the good stuff is a skill that has to be learned. A school librarian is the perfect person for that task.

mira
1-5-11, 9:44am
^ Exactly. Unfortunately, in many cases, school administrators have a very poor grasp of what a school librarian actually does (after all, how card can stamping books and putting them on a shelf be?? >:(). There's very little collaboration. This is made worse by school librarians often being classed as 'clerical staff' or similiar, instead of head of department.

Of course, there are also schools where the library and librarian are highly valued. I'm lucky enough to work in one, but alas, administrators don't allow the librarian to conduct information skills sessions as often as she would like (eg. in a progressive series of lessons) because "academic study" takes priority (but how can you be ready for university when all your information comes from Wikipedia?!).

(I'm sensing this is for an whole other topic entirely - sorry for hijacking the thread!!)

iris lily
1-16-11, 11:27am
Our neighborhood is facing the dilemma of what to do with our neighborhood newspaper. For decades it was produced by residents: written and edited by us, sent out for printing, and then given back to us for distribution. It is delivered free to each resident each month. It has always been the answer to residents who say "why didn't someone tell me that!!!!????" about somthing they don't like. We can always counter with:the news is delivered to your door. Pick it up, open it, read it.

Then we farmed it out to a local newspaper publisher who was supposed to make it grow, but it did not. Still, it doesn't cost us $12,000 annually, but OTOH there is not much there, mostly ads.

If we drop the printed version we've got to figure out how to get news out to residents. We--the neighborhood association--does a fair amount of real estate related work such as zoning, development of public spaces, street and sidewalk cahnges, etc--and people are smokin' angry when they perceive things are being done "behind their back" but in reality they are just too lazy to find out what's going on in thier 'nabe.

While we have 3 (yes, THREE!!!!!!!) messaging web sites, only a tiny percentage of people participate. And that's fine but we don't have any easy answer if again people say: well, I didn't know about that, why didn't you tell me?

Jonathan
1-17-11, 5:29am
Will our lives become merely a bunch of octets on a storage device? Just imagine: you could be buried with all your worldly effects - a laptop.

I'm not sure if that would be good or bad...

jp1
1-17-11, 7:00am
Just imagine: you could be buried with all your worldly effects - a laptop.

I'm not sure if that would be good or bad...

Actually the NY Times magazine had an article about this topic just a couple of weeks ago.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/magazine/09Immortality-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine

clear water
1-26-11, 11:23pm
I had a newspaper subscription for many years. I was getting more and more alarmed by the amount of wasted paper. In december on a Thursday the paper was huge so many colored ads . The next day I cancelled the paper and now I hardly miss it. I watch our local news to see what going on. I want to buy less so I don't care about the flyers anymore.