Note: Henceforth, all TUEBL updates shall be collected into The One Thread TO RULE THEM ALL!
OK, TUEBL has been functional for enough days that I feel confidant announcing that it’s officially back on solid ground–hurray! The “upload” section if still offline, but the thousands of books from Old TUEBL made it over to New TUEBL so the well’s not exactly dry. Plus, word has it the librarians are working hard to fix the upload feature so pretty soon we can all go back to doing our part to put the Ultimate in Ultimate E-Book Library.
Other than the upload section, the site is fully functional again, but there are a few changes the old visitors might notice.
First, the Library got a facelift! It’s appearance now mirrors it’s sister site, TorMovies.org, with a less stark front page and a great layout for browsing. The new “Featured Books” section on the front page along with a list of the most popular and recently added books make the place feel more like an actual library where you have new books on display and those twirly kiosk things for the popular paperbacks.
Secondly, there’s no forum at the new TUEBL. This may be a disappointment to some, but since the forum wasn’t used all that much at the old site, I can hardly imagine it’s absence will impede most users. And word has it a new system for support and communication is on the To-Do list. Plus, as the self-appointed, yeah-it’s-totally-official TUEBL blogger, you can always drop questions and comments here for yours truly to answer.
Finally, and to me most excitingly, TUEBL book pages (for example) now have a direct link to Amazon for those who want to buy the books. Why is this exciting? Well, it’s one of the first steps towards merging a “pirate” site where you can access all the books for free with a legitimate way to support the authors that you appreciate. Of course, I’d guess that most people will still use TUEBL like the library that it is and stick with the free downloads. And that’s great, that’s exactly what a library is for! But as we all know, many of us “pirates” also love to support our favorite authors, when given a fitting option. And when buying something is easy people will often do it–and having a link right there, may very well encourage some appreciative fans to buy the book or browse other books by the same. The way I see it, this feature is a huge step in the direction of making TUEBL a truly ethical andconvenient source of books.
And on that subject of support for authors, I want to end with the one wish I have for TUEBL. Though the link to Amazon is a great step, I would love to see more options for paying the authors for the books we enjoy. For example, I wish readers who might not want or be able to buy the book on Amazon to be able to Flattr books. Of course, this is tricky for two reasons:
1. Flattr does not allow you to submit Things that are not your own, therefore only the authors could put Flattr buttons on their book pages, which leads to problem #2…
2. Authors are unlikely to submit their TUEBL book pages to Flattr. Asking them to do so is probably more likely to end in them submitting a takedown notice and a legal complaint, two things we’d probably all like to avoid.
However, it seems as though there might be a way or two around these problems, like this:
1. You CAN Flattr a Twitter user. Nothing is stopping TUEBL users from doing this for their favorite authors. Of course, that doesn’t encourage other users to do the same thing, hence step #2…
2. Once you Flattr a Twitter user, that person then has a page on Flattr and TUEBL could then have a link to that author’s Flattr page. (This blog, for example, has linked to Twitter-Flattr page for Romi Moondi ) OR…
3. Since this would be complicated to do for 6,000+ books, TUEBL could simply allow users to post links to the Flattr pages in the comments of the book page.
Technically, I think this would be legit, though it’s possible that Flattr would protest because they may not want to look like they’re getting their hands dirty with “piracy.” (Though TUEBL is really, really NOT a pirate site–they will remove material after an appropriate request is made.) But of course, if they don’t like the idea, I’ll just Twitter-Flattr my favorite TUEBL authors and link to their pages from here.