So long, and thanks....
- From: John Mark Ockerbloom <ockerblo@[redacted]>
- Subject: So long, and thanks....
- Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2007 21:09:49 -0500
We had some new friends over for dinner last night, and towards
dessert, the conversation turned to books, and eventually to all
the books that were now available online. They were quite interested
in the travel accounts by women that Mary had been putting
online, and remarked "You must have a passion for this." When they
found out that over 300 books had been republished on her site, on
a completely volunteer basis, they said "that's a *lot* of passion!"
I think that could be said about a lot of the people on the list.
Whether it's the regular posters, or the folks who mostly lurk and
occasionally send us email, this has been a group that's been
passionate about books, what they can do for people, and the
importance of doing the best job we can to make them available
to as many people as possible.
We've built libraries of not just
hundreds but tens of thousands of books with volunteer labor. (And
some of us have quietly been building at the millions-of-books scale.)
We've discussed the need for copyright reform (with one of us famously
taking his case all the way to the US Supreme Court). We've proposed
and argued about the best ways to produce and provide the most useful,
high-quality book collections. We've done fresh translations of
classic works, organized large teams of proofreaders and encyclopedia
writers, and written and demonstrated new software and formats for preparing,
viewing, and exploring books online. We've helped out our fellow
listmembers when they've had posted questions about some problem
they were having preparing or using books. And sometimes we've
just talked about the books we liked, and what made them special for us.
I've enjoyed hearing and participating in these conversations, and
am happy to have met you all virtually (one perk of taking the subscription
requests is you hear from the lurkers as well the posters), and have
been fortunate enough to meet some of you in person as well. If you
browse through the archives, which will remain online at
you'll see how far things have come since this list started out in 1997,
and how much potential there still is to do more.
So I very much appreciate people continuing in the same spirit as we
started out. I'm particularly thankful to Kent Larsen for starting up
Book Futures, which I see has already begun activity), and to the
various other listmembers who have recently started other lists related
to online books and the sharing of knowledge. And I hope those of you
who are so inclined will stop by my blog at Everybody's Libraries,
or Mary's Celebration blog. Again, I've left pointers
to all these places, and to the archives of this list, at
and am happy to take corrections and updates there.
So I wish all the Book People farewell for now,
and hope that we and our books will meet again soon.
John Mark Ockerbloom
Moderator, Book People mailing list