Simon Willison’s Weblog


Lessons from the Bookmobile

19th October 2002

I first read about the Internet Bookmobile last week on Aaron Swartz’ Weblog. Lessons from the Internet Bookmobile is a new article on the O’Reilly Network by Richard Koman, who spent the week preceeding the opening of the Supreme Court Eldred vs Ashcroft case travelling with the bookmobile as it made it’s way up from San Francisco to Washington, stopping off at schools and libraries along the way to demonstrate the importance of the public domain. The article discusses the potential effect cheap book printing technology combined with the internet and the public domain could have on schools, libraries and even commercial publishers:

In fact, the Bookmobile’s message, in essence, is that these are books we can put in the hands of children, through schools, and we can do it at a very low cost. (The material cost for a black and white book with color cover is $1.) We can create large-print versions of these books and put them in the hands of senior citizens, and we can deliver them to their homes or to retirement centers. We can transform libraries into public-domain printing plants. And we can enable commercial publishers to create new products that attract new customers, both young and old.

Richard also wrote this article for Salon describing the Bookmobile and how it relates to the Eldred case.

This is Lessons from the Bookmobile by Simon Willison, posted on 19th October 2002.

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