The Universal eBook Catalog

I really hate having to think up things that people who make a huge multiple of my yearly income should be bright enough to envision and propose on their own, but it seems this is my curse in life, so here goes.

Appropo of my prior post, emphasizing freedom of buying choice, I propose the formation of the Universal eBook Catalog.

This would list any eBook available for sale.

It would be searchable by all possible elements: title, author, publisher, price, subject matter, genre, file format (ePub and the rest), DRM, hardware, etc.

This would be a catalog that would list everything. Nothing would be verboten.

If it’s on the Internet in eBook format with a pricetag, it would be listed.

The primary thing about this Catalog is that it’s just that: a catalog.

It’s not a bookstore.

All it does is show what’s available and then offers links to where the eBook can be bought.

This would be akin to the function of, for example, The Pirate Bay, which has links to items but does not offer that content itself. (In fact, it would probably be in the best interest of everybody to have The Pirate Bay do this. Point to another group of people who have been as fearless as they have been and are!)

Listings would be absolutely free.

I see this as being underwritten by advertising.

Advertisers would be eBook makers, eBook Stores, and publishers. (I can also see TV shows and movies based on books — or that have book spinoffs — as advertisers.)

There’s recently been a proposal for a cataloging format — but that is only to formalize how publishers should structure their information.

This catalog would aggregate all that information in one place.

Given the actions of Apple and Amazon, I think it’s time for something like this if only as a matter of self-defense.

eBooks are too important to be given up to monopolistic interests who cringe in the face of political or moral opposition.

4 Responses to The Universal eBook Catalog

  1. katmeyer says:

    Mike you have a good idea here. I think aggregating content info for ebooks (ala Bowker for ebooks) AND making it available to everybody with optional links to go and purchase where and how you want is a good idea. What would also be cool? I won’t say right now cuz it’s my super secret idea and i’m going to make one hundred million dollars from it…stay tuned. (i m sorry about the cuz, i couldn’t resist).

  2. Kirk says:

    The new open catalog format is the first step. Once that’s in place and widely used all of the catalogs published online should be discoverable through a search engine.

    That’s when Google will step in.

  3. Mike Cane says:

    >>>That's when Google will step in.

    And fuck up the entire idea with SAFESEARCH.

    No. This must be INDEPENDENT.

  4. Fran Toolan says:

    So, when do you want to start work on it, instead of talking about it?

    catalog format and delivery mechanisms are by far the simplest parts of this project.

    If, or when, you want to tackle the really hard parts of this, let me know. I think its a great idea – and I know others who are working on it. But, they too, will be stymied by the hard parts.

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