What do you think of this business idea?

I have had this idea for the longest time, and would love some input (or just crushing information that it is silly or has already been done).

Basically, my idea is this: I want to create an on line Library of Alexandria or Great Library. The way that I envision this working is that people would join and then install a proprietary software that would act as a "reader ". This reader would allow the recipient to, well, read books that they had borrowed, but not to print or save to any other format (like a DOC or TXT file, for example). After a set period of time, the proprietary file (or “book”) would expire. Further, the Library will have paid (or had donated) a set amount of copies of each file so that you could “book” could only be checked out a set number of instances, before someone had to wait until it was “returned”.

I am pretty sure that if I was careful about this that these steps would satisfy copywrite and intellectual property laws (although IANAL). Anyway, what do you guys think?

It’s been done.

There are some on-line libraries where you ‘check out’ books…and only one person can ‘have’ the on-line book checked out. Something like 50,000 books and growing…

Sorry, but I cannot recall the names! Maybe someone else can.

Figures :mad:

I would love links if anyone can think of them, though.

I seem to recall that the reason the library of Alexandria got so large is that any ship which docked at the city was required to lend all books and papers aboard to the library where scribes would speedily copy them, in time for the ship to get them back before leaving port.

Whether or not my recollection on this is accurate, while reading your OP, I got a little creeped out by the thought that your software might do the same with the data on the PCs of people who installed it.

Anyway, check out (did I say “check out”? - haha!) Safari Books Online for just such an online library, oriented towards computer technical books.

Just Google for “online library,” and it’ll cough up a bunch of links. Here’s just one of them.