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But, where are the shelves?


Books stacked on shelves, ordered using a system whose name is a misspelt synonym of condensation. Sometimes the shelves move, scaring you to death if you are caught between two of them. There are rows of computers running MS-DOS that try to hold people off from approaching the head honcho (or one of her assistants) that knows where all the books are. Trying to find a quote from a book takes a couple of days in a brick and mortar library, but it is free. Most everyone is happy with the arrangement – authors, publishers, librarians. Except readers interested in a little research.

Online behemoth borrows books from a few libraries, and scans them in digitally. Finding a quote from a book takes a few milliseconds.

Publishers hate it. And today writers have decided they hate it too. Go figure.