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image Um, isn’t this the electronic era when you can enjoy YouTube and video games from home? So why not e-books?

May I strongly object to at least one aspect of the proposed Google Book Search settlement, which lets libraries offer just one terminal per library building for access to various books?

How backwards—not just the one terminal limit but also the whole notion of linking access to your presence inside a library! Educators will tell you that no small amount of learning happens at home. isn’t that one of the keystones of the One Laptop Per Child initiative (photo)? Not to mention the intergenerational possibilities! Let children, parents and grandparents read and learn together, encouraged by the right educational approaches.

Bring the hardware home, too—so people can enjoy E in style

While allowing for generous library access, then, America should think about promoting the use of e-book-fit computers at home. TeleRead, anyone? Such a federal program could allow not just for hardware but also content and integration with school curricula and libraries in general. The same machines could be used for applications such as tax forms and e-commerce and health-related paperwork, a way to help cost-justify them. And many hardware vendors could participate with machines meeting commonly accepted technical standards.

Fair pay for content providers

I know: writers and publishers need to be paid. Let the program allow for that, as well as for the special needs of low-income people. And if Google and Amazon and OverDrive and the rest want to be contractors, that’s fine by me if they can provide efficient service.

Shouldn’t TeleRead be something for the next president to consider, rather than just dwelling on the broadband issue alone? Broadband isn’t enough; how about content? The Google settlement is just another reminder of its importance.

Related: Washington Post op-ed and U.S. News & World Report column on TeleRead.

A reminder: I am a very small shareholder in Google.

 
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