Open war is upon us, whether we would have it or not. These incidents in 2011 seemed like twitter-inflamed kerfuffles as we lived through them, but with the perspective of time, we can see they were preludes to a fight to the death.
In a year or two, libraries may consider the Harper Collins limit of 26 circulations of a list price ebook through Overdrive to be a relative bargain, as all of the other large publishers will withdraw from "pretend-its-print" ebook licensing.
The big publishers have watched Amazon's market power grow and see a future of slavery to an internet commerce master. Only Penguin allowed hostilities to break out, however, as the Amazon occupation of Overdrive broke the penguin's back. The target of opportunity was library lending. Evidently Penguin decided that a frontal assault on Amazon would be suicidal.
4. Prime Pretends to be a Library
Amazon added ebook borrowing features to their Amazon Prime service, revealing it as Amazon's answer to Netflix, and without even thinking about it, as a service that could eventually compete directly with public libraries. Now we see why Amazon wanted to get in on that library thing.
Spurned by the publishers in their joint crusade against the Google heathens, the Authors Guild decided that Hathitrust might be a less formidable opponent. And indeed it was, the lawsuit exposed a number of copyright blunders by the library cooperative. But the Guild's suit seemed hasty and ill-contrived. This sort of thing happens in wartime.
7. Amazon Obliterates Borders.
Although Borders was tactically weak in many ways, it was Amazon and the rise of ebooks that killed it strategically. Barnes and Noble, if it survives, won't look anything like the book marketing machine that it is today.
8. Libraries Muster the Resistance
The emergence of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) as a rallying point for libraries' continuing presence in the cultural life of America was a surprise, as it went against the prevailing tea-party currents for smaller government and increased reliance on the private sector. It's not clear how the symbolic presence of a library in Zuccotti Park could point the way to a digital future, but many things that have not yet come to pass are shrouded in darkness.
The powerful publishing and media industries, in a paroxysm of inept do-something-ism, seem to have convinced Congress that it would be a good thing if the intenet could be censored for copyright infringement. Sadly, the solution they've fixed on, SOPA, will be ineffective against unlicensed content and will put the Justice Department smack in the middle of our nation's information infrastructure. Carpet bombing never ends well.
I have learned that whenever it seems that you're falling into the abyss, you must reach for a rope. There is always a rope.