Il blog di Antonio Tombolini

Giulio Blasi, MLOL, ebooks, libraries and … "Tombolinian bullying"!


An interesting and quite clarifying post by Giulio Blasi (CEO of MLOL) who, under the (alleged) cover of a google-group for experts, summarizes the situation more or less like this: Tombolini’s post on libraries (this one) is “Tombolinian bullying“, maybe the model he proposes is right but it’s “just talk“, and the truth is that since STEALTH is unable to bring publishers into the library, we’ll attack the publishers in order to “side-step” their distributor, so dim-witted and closed-minded towards this great (as well as “revolutionary” and “historical”, according to the press releases) opportunity.
You can take a look at the post (filled with rare and surprising bitterness, in my opinion) and judge for yourself here.
I’d like to reassure Blasi, who’s clearly so concerned with his own (indisputable) day-to-day business management needs that he’s forgotten (in addition to a minimum of fair play, which never hurts) what I’ve been saying for over a year now: not only do I think the absolute worst of the Overdrive model which everyone seems to be lowering themselves to (DRM or non-DRM is a non-problem). Not only do I think that a pay-per-rent model is more fair and honest towards the libraries and publishers (regarding the “just talk“, STEALTH is the only one among the distribution platforms that has already been able to technically manage ebook “rental” or “lending” services for a year now).
But there’s more: I believe that the question itself of lending ebooks, however presented, is a question of rearguard action and entirely secondary with respect to the true changes taking place. An issue which I will discuss, as always, in the agora of the Internet right here, in my blog, between today and tomorrow, constantly in search of an interesting debate (as it seems my first post, followed by others, succeeded in opening), and not a (rather shabby) reduction of everything to little tactics for closing an extra deal.
I’m certain that even Blasi will be relieved: I will in fact attempt to theorize how anyone who really has the libraries’ interests a heart has to encourage and help them to focus on something much different than “collecting books“, whether they be made of paper or bits. I’ll give you a taste of what I mean, with an expression I used in my recent speech at the AIB (Italian Library Association) conference: transforming the library from a place of books to the place of people who read books, staking everything on its local roots and the vital relationship it has with its community. And on my part without any hesitation, I’d leave the field clear for those who instead want to view libraries as simple (although frail) cows whose public teats, alas more and more dried up, continue to be milked anyway.


Il blog di Antonio Tombolini

Antonio Tombolini

Get in touch