“Amazon is library 2.0”? Or, all your base are belong to people like you: the better put version

Interesting post from Matt on Amazon is Library 2.0 Great ideas, but it makes the classic mistake takes the position of  equating libraries with ‘information,’ which I am uncomfortable with.

Amazon is a partial competitor, sure, and a good source of inspiration. But libraries are not bookshops, digital or not 😉


8 Responses to “Amazon is library 2.0”? Or, all your base are belong to people like you: the better put version

  1. magia3e says:

    Classic mistake? That’s a bit unkind Pete!

    It’s good to have competitors – they keep us on our toes.

    I’d like to think that libraries are a nice physical place to meet and be social, be community builders, etc, but if I can visit Borders and drink a coffee with my book before I buy it, meet my friends, do business, and enjoy myself, why would I go to my local library where the librarian still looks at me funny when I am doing anything but studying, where the books are out of date, and where it takes longer to get a book on inter library loan than ordering through Amazon??

    ..why is there still that difference anyways?

    Do libraries need spin doctors in order to ‘educate’ the masses as to the role that they wish to play? I think the take home message is that there’s probably a disconnect between the role libraries want to take and the larger perception in society that ultimately needs to be addressed.


  2. Pete says:

    Oh, I’m harsh but fair 😉 This ‘mistake’ is one a lot of people make. Perhaps I should have used the phrase ‘position’. The ‘classic mistake’ doesn’t erase the ‘great ideas.’ And taking Walt Crawford’s wise advice, I’m happy to admit I was wrong here and made my case a little strongly and have edited the entry accordingly.
    Indeed, point taken, but I feel very strongly that the focus on ‘information’ will do more harm than good.
    Yes, ‘wouldn’t you rather be at home’ is an issue libraries have been facing for some time.
    Ultimately libraries are fighting against being a ‘service of the gaps’- filling in where Borders and Amazon don’t or won’t go. Soon, I note in passing, Borders won’t be anywhere- but that’s a different story.
    I don’t go to bookshops for a social experience often- but that is more to do with me than anything else. I guess I’m just an esentialist 😉 Shops = money= that’s it. I distrust companies trying to make me feel I’m getting something nice and fuzzy 😀
    Libraries don’t need spin. They need to focus on what they are not. They are not shops. This shouldn’t mean bad service, or discomfort, but it means that if these things don’t increase the bottom line it doesn’t matter so much. That libraries will open in poor areas, that they will invest in the local, that they care about you not ‘you.’
    That I think is where we should look to local public libraries- see Slow Library for more details 😉

  3. magia3e says:


    that was a quick response Pete!

    and I only posted it 5 seconds ago!


  4. Pete says:

    I’m on my lunch 😉

  5. magia3e says:

    … and it’s 10.30PM here in Oz!

  6. Pete says:

    Yeah, I was thinking you were a night-owl 😉 Lots of time on irc helped me figure out the UK/Aus time issues 😀

  7. I think you already know where I stand on “libraries = information,” so I’ll just say that, under normal circumstances, I might not have been so quick to take my advice re being wrong…

  8. Pete says:

    Well, I still think “libraries=information” is wrong, but I think the use of the word ‘mistake’ was undiplomatic, and would tend to shut down any debate. I think libraries are partly about information, but it’s information in a community context.

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