Tools of Change

Barbara Vey -- March 1st, 2011
Katie Dunneback

Katie Dunneback

Today’s Cub Reporter is Katie Dunneback. She is a librarian by day and romance reader and writer, under a pseudonym, by night. She’s long been interested in popular publishing and the interaction between publishing and libraries, especially when it comes to ebooks.

For those unfamiliar with the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference, it “connects the people, companies, and organizations asking and answering the questions that will define the future of publishing.”  This year’s conference was the fifth one and my first. I had heard about it through my contacts in publishing the last couple of years, and the conversations coming out of last year’s conference made an impact on me. I said a number of times on Twitter since the 2010 conference that it would be nice, an understatement, to see more librarians at conferences such as this as libraries are part of the publishing ecosystem. I got my wish when I was asked to represent libraries on a panel with a publishing representative and a technology representative to discuss the issue of lending ebooks in libraries.

This year’s conference had a bit of a split personality with sessions which focused on readers and consumers of publishing on one hand and the technologies behind publishing on the other. The benefit of attending a conference such as this though, is having hundreds of highly intelligent people in one place where we can merge discussions of these two prongs of the future of publishing.

Katie Dunneback and Margaret Atwood

Katie Dunneback and Margaret Atwood

Highlights of this conference, for me, were listening to opening keynote speakers Margaret Atwood and Theodore Gray, attending a session and afternoon keynote specifically addressing issues of
accessibility in the age of digital publishing, hearing so many discussions of how the reader, the end customer, impacts the industry, hearing about the many different ways to make a title more
“discoverable” to readers which is a specialty of mine as a librarian, and meeting so many people I know on Twitter in person finally as well as making a raft of new friends.


Library Journal Staff

Library Journal Staff

If you work in publishing or in a publishing-related industry, I would highly recommend attending a conference like Tools of Change as it gives you an opportunity to get a well-rounded view of the industry both on a global level as well as an industry level. I look forward to seeing who is brought together for next year’s conference and am fervently hoping I can attend it!

Bottom Line: Tomorrow is the last day to donate a prize to the Anniversary Bash to be held next week.  Email me at for more information.

24 thoughts on “Tools of Change

  1. Katy Lee

    I “take out” ebooks from my library often, but the wait for them can be extra long. They can only “lend” it to one person at a time, each person getting it for three weeks. And some of these waiting lists are six people deep.

    With a traditional book, if the reader finishes quickly, they can return it, and the next person can take it out. They don’t have to wait so long.

    But that’s my only beef. Other than that, it’s pretty cool. I can get it right from my home, and have it instantly.

  2. Debby Giusti

    Thanks for sharing what you experienced at the conference. I love libraries and my local librarians are the best! You’re so right. They are an important part of the publishing market.

  3. Karen Cherubino

    I found your comments about the Tools of Change conference very interesting; it’s always nice when your expectations for a conference are met or exceeded! I would be interested in learning more about how digital publishing will impact the traditional library. Thanks for your insights.

  4. Bonnie B.

    I’ve have loved reading books and have held off looking at the e-readers. I know like 45 records, eight-track tapes and cassettes, paperback books are eventually going to be a thing of the past. It may not happen in my lifetime, but who knows what time will bring. The times are a changin’.

  5. Katie D

    Hi all,

    Thanks so much for the lovely compliments both on the post and on libraries! Karen, I think the best example of how digital publishing affects traditional libraries is the recent HarperCollins debacle. If you do a search on the web for the hashtag #hcod or “harpercollins 26 library loans”, you’ll find a ton of articles responding to HarperCollins recent change to their ebook licensing terms to libraries, restricting a license to 26 loans before the license becomes invalid. Currently, items that exist in a digital, non-tangible format are not subject to the First Sale Doctrine of copyright law. Also, ebooks and digital files are usually governed by a license structure rather than an outright purchase for ownership. I think you’ll find that if a library offers an ebook service, their collection may move away from publishers which demand onerous or overly restrictive licensing terms. Libraries are also very much dealing with the shift to digital as publishers are, but we also are concerned with the social implications of preservation of culture for the future (which we can’t guarantee under current copyright law), and the digital divide between the haves and the have-nots. Lots to balance especially in a time where many libraries’ budgets are getting cut, if not zeroed out by their funding entities.

  6. Cristina Wright

    I love my library network. There are over 20 regional libraries in my county that share their resources with the county residents. This has given me an opportunity not only to read entire series of books that may not have been available at one library branch but it has given my children and I the opportunity to share in the experience of visiting the county’s libraries (often located in historical buildings). It has encouraged my childrens’ love of books and fueled their imaginations. What better to fuel an appreciation for something that does not cost anything directly (MY TAX MONEY IS ACTUALLY GOING TO SOMETHING TANGIBLE…YAY!) and instills in them the importance of supporting libraries? Nothing! So weather it’s digital audio or written I hope our libraries survive the $ hungry publishers who seek to limit access to books through restrictive licensing practices.

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