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> I don't see how is this community different.

Really?




Yes, really.

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You are wasting our time then because you are not thinking about it very hard:

* Libraries are physical spaces linked to one geographical community.

* Libraries have a limited number of physical copies to lend out.

* To read the books in the library, you have to physically go there, check it out, and take it home (or read it there).

Compare and contrast with a web site linking potential lenders/borrowers:

* Geography is not much of a limit.

* Ebook copies (limiting the discussion to Kindle) are managed by Amazon, but are only scarce artificially - in their 'natural' form, ebooks are not a scarce resource.

* Clicking on a web site to get a book is far, far easier, quicker and more convenient than going to a library.

That's just off the top of my head. Presumably, if you were not being willfully obtuse, you could think of a few differences too.

I don't understand how anyone can hope to discuss this stuff in a rational way if they're not going to look at the facts as they are.

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Libraries are physical spaces linked to one geographical community.

Which may have many more users than this group had. How many users does a library in NYC serve?

Libraries have a limited number of physical copies to lend out.

These lending systems are much more limited: each copy can only be loaned once. http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=2...

To read the books in the library, you have to physically go there, check it out, and take it home (or read it there).

But back then you also had to physically go to a book store, buy the book and take it home. Borrowing wasn't much more difficult than buying.

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> * To read the books in the library, you have to physically go there, check it out, and take it home (or read it there).

I haven't used a library in 15 years that couldn't send you a book, as long as you were a member/library card carrier.

Your differences are largely superficial and orthogonal to the discussion, but I suspect you and I are not going to be able to agree on this point.

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> Your differences are largely superficial

About as superficial as the difference between Amazon.com and Smith Family Book Store ( http://www.smithfamilybookstore.com/welcome.html ).

The possibility for a web site to scale up outstrips the wildest dreams of pretty much any librarian who traffics in physical books.

I don't get why people don't see this.

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To read the books in the library, you have to physically go there, check it out, and take it home.

My local library does e-book lending online through Overdrive. Almost any e-book format, generous checkout times, etc. You can search tens of thousands of libraries here:

http://search.overdrive.com/

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It's different (C2C), but probably would have a similar impact to a library (particularly given the scale we're talking about here—only 15,000 users).

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> only 15,000 users

Right now. Is there any kind of hard limit on the number of users a site like that could have?

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