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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Seven Stories Press is proud to partner with the Internet Archive, a digital library and member of the American Library Association, for an initial sale of sixteen ebooks listed below that are now available to be checked out online.

The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, DIY Resistance, State of Play, Rebel Publisher, LoveStar, All City, Trees on Mars, Grand Central Winter, Approaching the Great Transformation, Like Shaking Hands with God, Project Censored’s State of the Free Press 2021, On Diversity, Overpowered, The Disunited States, and My Night in the Planetarium


About the Internet Archive, Peter Kaufman, author of The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge, now part of the Internet Archive’s Seven Stories Press collection, says:

The Internet Archive is a modern marvel. The overarching objective of its founder and staff and supporters and its surrounding community is to see knowledge made more available to everyone. . . It’s all modeled from the mission to the logo on the Library of Alexandria, but the spirit of benevolence they embody probably dates back further in time, to the genies, jinns, and angels of an even more ancient world.” 

Join Kaufman for an Internet Archive and Library Futures event on September 29th with Catherine Stihler, CEO of Creative Commons (Registration here).

Our library and academic marketing director Claire Kelley interviewed Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle about the value of his project to create a digital "library of everything," his mission to purchase (not license) and lend ebooks just like print books at a library, and how other independent publishers can help. His leadership is inspiring in that he is able to clearly articulate how all of us—including book publishers—can join him in his vision for a shared and open digital library that is not dictated by commercial gatekeepers for digital generations to come.

As a librarian, what do you want to see as libraries evolve and change?

This can be the librarian’s day—we have the opportunity to take the collections we purchase and preserve and make them as accessible as possible to digital learners. For instance, Wikipedia readers that want to dive deeper can go to the references section and click to go right into a book to read more about it. If they want to read the whole book then they could buy it, or borrow if it were available. We can now use computers to analyze thousands of books and help us get a bigger picture than is currently possible with paper or ereader platforms. Libraries offering services such as this will become increasingly important.

Also, libraries will offer new ways to read books especially for those that can not read print effectively. Bringing the good ideas in books to as many people in as many ways as possible is what libraries do best—libraries will continue to evolve and grow in these dimensions.

What do some book publishers not understand about the value of your work?

Libraries buy, curate, preserve, and offer access to books and other cultural works—this essential work must continue in the digital age if we are going to ensure an inclusive democratic society  Libraries play an important role in ensuring under-served communities have access to the materials they need to learn and become informed, engaged citizens. Libraries promote literacy and fuel reader knowledge of and excitement about new authors and books. What some large publishers want to do is create a "platform" where books are only licensed and not sold. This has all sorts of problems for libraries, smaller publishers, authors, and therefore readers. For example, under this platform model, any given book can disappear from library shelves at any time. Libraries are there to ensure these things don’t disappear, that future generations can read the books of our time and understand their own history.

As founder of Alexa Internet, you have a history with Amazon. [As part of the Amazon acquisition of Alexa Internet in 1999, Kahle negotiated with Jeff Bezos and insisted that a copy of the pages that were crawled by Alexa would be provided to the Wayback Machine, which archives every page of the internet to this day.] What do think about Amazon’s library lending models and their marketshare of book sales?

We believe there should be many publishers, many booksellers, many libraries, many authors, and everyone a reader.  Having players become too dominant in any of these areas as it makes it difficult for new ideas and approaches to be introduced.  A market where ebooks are sold—really sold, not licensed—is the easiest way to make it easy for many players to interoperate.

What's the best way for other independent publishers who understand the contributions of the Internet Archive to work with you?

The best way to work with us is to let us give you money, in exchange for your books. We would like to purchase all books and ebooks from any publisher that will really sell to us (turns out independent publishers are more inclined to sell than the large publishers that are playing a licensing game). When we own the books in our collections, we can do all the traditional functions libraries perform like preservation and lending. The Internet Archive will encourage other libraries to buy these books as well.

Can you explain how your lending model works?

The Internet Archive uses Controlled Digital Lending, longstanding and widespread library practice, that allows one reader at a time to borrow digitized editions of the books in a library’s collection. These digitized images or digital files are protected from copying and redistribution using the same technical protections that that publishers use when making their ebooks available. This system works in the digital world just like a library does in the physical world.

For authors and publishers who have concerns about security protocols and permissions issues, can you explain how a digital library functions?

We use the same protections, such as Adobe Digital Editions, that publishers use to protect their books. As the publishers evolve to make these more usable and secure, we will follow and use the same or similar technologies.

What else do you want the publishing industry to know?

Please sell ebooks to libraries so we can continue to serve the public in the ways we have for hundreds of years.

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