Thursday, August 13, 2009

E-Readers and Libraries

E-Readers are rapidly becoming the hottest new way to read a book (you know without actually holding a book). I've actually used Amazon's Kindle and really liked it (I was shocked too). It's light, but not too light, and can be held with one hand, but seems to be more comfortable if you hold it with two, just like a book. The regular font is a good size and "turning the page" by clicking a button didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. If I had $299 I might consider buying one, mostly because books are a good deal cheaper (especially new hardcover releases) and are delivered immediately to your device. So no waiting around for books to come in the mail (and no pesky shipping charges). Sounds pretty fantastic, right?

Maybe not. The more I started thinking about starting to save up for one, I realized that I had really cut back on the number of books I buy new. I'm a big fan of used bookstores, especially the ones that offer credit for books I turn in,, and of course, my local public library. The only time I've bought new books recently has been for a new release that I knew I was going to want to keep. So in the past 3 months or so, I've bought 2 brand new books. Everything else has been from the used bookstore, found used online (through Amazon Marketplace or Ebay's, traded in on PBS, or checked out from the library. So why should I buy a Kindle? Seems like it would be a waste of money.

But wouldn't it be great if I could check out e-books at the library? I can have my e-reader, buy books for it when I want to, but still check out others. I didn't think this had happened yet until I discovered Sony's E-Reader and their partnership with Overdrive, which is a global distributor of digital media (audiobooks, ebooks, music, videos, etc) to libraries and schools. According to this press release, its a quiet deal, but a fabulous one. Patrons can download ebooks onto their Sony device from the library's webpage and then the books are "returned" (they disappear) after a set amount of time. Hopefully with some good marketing, this will expand beyond major city libraries (NYPL has already jumped on board) and be available to everyone who has an e-reader no matter the library. While this seems to just apply to those in possession of a Sony device, hopefully all e-readers will participate so everyone can have equal access.

Do you have an e-reader? If you knew you could "check out" ebooks from the library and download them onto your device, would you do it? Does that make you more likely to want to purchase an e-reader? Tell me what you think!

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