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Starbucks Digital Network launched; free access to WSJ and NYT at Starbucks…

October 21, 2010

Awhile back, we had posted about how WSJ was going to be available through Starbucks.  Well, now it’s here.  Beginning Wednesday, Starbucks customers using their wi-fi will have the Starbucks Digital Network, a custom group of content, both local and global, geared towards differentiating Starbucks from their competitors.

What’s interesting for the information professional is that the content includes free access to the New York Times Reader 2.0 subscription-based service, all content from the Wall Street Journal, as well as exclusive LinkedIn content.

A brief summary is available here through Mashable.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Damian Hayden permalink
    October 22, 2010 11:38 am

    HTML5-optimized (iPad), community-focused access to selected subscription resources, from one physical place. Sounds like a very modern special library and a very traditional library all in one.

  2. Alexander Feng permalink
    November 4, 2010 8:26 am

    Interesting and insightful comment, Damian. I was reading an article this morning about “redefining the library” out of SMU. It was interesting that N. Varaprasad, former CEO of Singapore’s Library Board, projected that the library is now a virtual space, and in the future the roles will be connecting “people to information, information to information, information to people, and people to people.” Hmmm… Starbucks is really edging in that space. They’re already a “third place” to connect people to other people. Now information to people. Computer science is rapidly improving on connecting information to information.

    Worth mulling over as we all view the larger landscape of what is a library.

    Redefining the library:;jsessionid=d030ddf805a2cd4db70e27f34464f5f16436?articleid=1323

  3. Alexander Feng permalink
    November 4, 2010 9:12 am

    Another thing I just caught – last week Amazon announced that they would let their Kindle users lend books, just as Barnes & Noble’s Nook currently does (and now Nook is in color). If someone were to come up with a technological solution to crowdsourcing lending (think Limewire meets Kindle/Nook lending – not so difficult), then essentially, anyone with an eReader can access almost any book.

    Oh, and Barnes & Noble allows any user with a Nook 1 hour of free reading of any book in-store.

    This is starting to look a lot like a distributed, virtual library in a lot of places (News => go to Starbucks; Books=> Use an eReader).

    Or, if you take it one step further, potentially one place (if appropriate partnerships are in play; can you imagine a Starbucks/Yahoo/eReader partnership?).

    Amazon announcement:

  4. Damian Hayden permalink
    November 7, 2010 5:46 pm

    Bookstores already let people read books without buying, but the privilege has become quite abused. I was at my local B&N the other day with one of my sons for a hot chocolate adn cake, and there was no where to sit. All tables were full, with people seemingly parked there for much of the day. I asked the cafe guy if there was anyway we, the only people with food and drink, could sit somewhere. He obligingly asked one man who had been there all day reading to give up the table. But the man blew up, yelling, swearing and making a scene. It was awful.

    It’s become a real problem now for bookstores, people reading and not buying, treating the place like a library,a public place of their own right to use as they will. Books stores need a way to get people to buy, or get out. I’m sure limiting the read-time to e-works on the Nook is a step in this direction. A way for people to browse, but with limits. For now, it’s an experiment, so a generous time limit is provided. Perhaps the next step for B&N is a sign in the B&N cafe saying ‘reading permitted on Nooks only’, which would provide a means for limiting reading time, and non-social table time. The social issues may be harder to manage than the technical and licensing issues. It will be interesting to watch how e-content is used in bookstores.

    With regards to e-lending in general, your local public library probably provides Overdrive or something like it, that you can use to read econtent at home and on a mobile device. Overdrive doesn’t support Kindle and Sony – these systems have manufacturer/distributor exclusivities – but you can borrow most any new title via Overdrive to read on a PC, Mac or smartphone at least. And the lender, the Library, can lend to more than one reader at a time. It’s doubtful that the proprietary interests and licensing restrictions related to the Kindle, Nook etc will permit technical workarounds to enable lawful PPP/crowdlending. I do see people using public libraries more and more for econtent however. And business places as you suggest that will provide selected valuable content on selected devices. Content advertising schemes will likely preceed wide content access. Can also imagine, say, a sports arena, where anyone with an iPad can receive that week’s Sports Illustrated content to read during the game (access granted by a camera scan of the game ticket for example)?

    I personally don’t see what the problem Amazon is seeking to solve with providing (very limited) lending of Kindle titles. If people wanted to share a book they should buy the paper book. That’s very much why the costs are different to begin with. People can also share or swap their Kindles with their spouses. I think all Amazon is doing is providing some form of lending that will perhaps prompt families to purchase more than one Kindle. Better perhaps, Apple ebooks bought on iTunes can like any music, movie or app be utilized on five home devices. And long-term lending options are provided for many movies and books.

    It’s all interesting none-the-less …

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