Book Mobile

I just saw Kevin Burton's post on his experience at the Supreme Court watching eldrid. Sounded really, really neat. I've been to the Supreme Court once on tour and it was very intimidating just imagining sitting there hearing a case in front of the 9 people who decide what the Constitution really says. Very cool.

At the bottom of the page was links to others who were there with him, including Aaron Swartz's:

Unlike most Bookmobiles (of which they saw many at a Bookmobile conference on their trip), this one didn't contain any physical books. Instead, it connects to the Internet Archive's servers in the Presidio to download them. Then the high-speed printer prints out the pages. The chopper cuts them in half so you can fold them together to make a normal-sized book, and the binding machine heats up the glue-smeared cover to hold it all together. The whole process takes about fifteen minutes for a book (but they run many books in parallel so they can go much faster), and for the materials cost of a dollar, you have your own book. Brewster, of course, will give it to you for free if you help make it.

It's because of the public domain that they can do this. Brewster talks about how he sat down with book industry executives. He points out that they have thousands of out-of-print books, which they aren't selling and are making no money off of. He pulls out his checkbook. "How much do I have to pay to be able to make these books and give them to children?" he asks. They refuse, they will not let him make their books for any price.

Very cool. Totally interesting - returning later when I can read more thoroughly.


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