Daily Archives: September 7, 2005

Library wants to offer books people can’t listen to 8

Do you use an Apple computer? Do you use a Linux based computer? Do you use an Ipod? Do you still use an older version of windows (pre-xp)? Do you only have a cd player? Well if you answered yes to any of these then the Ypsilanti library doesn’t seem to care about you. The Ypsilanti Public Library currently plans to offer a downloadable audio book service to there customers begining next year. Unfortunately they are getting this service from a company called netlibrary.com. All of netlibrary’s offerings are encoded with Windows media drm (their “plays for sure” tech). Unfortunately if you don’t have xp and don’t have one of the handful of digital audio players (mp3 players) that support this copy protection scheme you are SOL. You can’t listen to these books on a mac or linux machine. You can’t listen to them on an Ipod and you can’t burn them to a cd to listen to in your car. Oh sure there are ways around the protection. No one has ever come up with a copy protection scheme that actually prevents stuff from being copied. But that is a hassle. And since we are paying taxes to support the library, why should we have to deal with that? Approximately 70-80% of all the mp3 players sold to date are ipods (and they are quite inexpensive now starting at $99 for a shuffle). Itunes has about 75-80% of the legit downloadable music market. Clearly the market has spoken and largely rejected devices that use window media. And even if you have a windows media device that is more than about 8 months old or is one of the cheap ones they sell at Target, Wal-mart etc, you are also out of luck because they don’t support plays for sure either.

I would urge all Ypsilanti residents to contact Christy Havens at the library at

Christy Havens
Ypsilanti District Library
5577 Whittaker Road
Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197
734-482-4110 ext. 1375

Voice your displeasure with this plan before it is too late.