The story of netLibrary under OCLC has yet to be written. Will the e-collection evolve into a true digital library system on a TeleRead scale? Too, will the new netLibrary indeed become more reader-friendly by, for instance, allowing more than one person at a time within a library system to check out a specific book? OCLC’s netLibrary will be a long way from TeleRead if that does not happen. Similarly OCLC would do well to help libraries work out mass purchasing arrangements with vendors–a timely topic now that the TabletPC and similar TeleRead-style machines are on the way in reality.
If OCLC does the job right, I will feel more than a little vindicated. Check out a list posting I made two years ago, well before the netLibrary purchase–where I suggested that OCLC could step in if James Billington continued to be such a Luddite about e-books.