Friday, June 24, 2011

Update on eReaders

At the end of last year, my library purchased several different e-book readers so that our staff could become familiar with them.  We were getting a lot of questions about them at the service desks, and we wanted to be able to give good answers.  We purchased (links go to my reviews of the devices):
- Black & White Nook
- Nook Color
- iPad 1
- Borders Kobo
- Kindle with 3G and wifi
- Sony Touch (Part 2 of my review here)

Now, six months later, we purchased the newest Nook.  It just became available this month, so we're feeling pretty cutting-edge right now!  I will review it fully soon.  For this post, I thought I'd just update where we are in the e-book and e-reader world.  Of course, I can only speak from my own experience, so this doesn't necessarily represent the experiences of my co-workers.

First of all, I get fewer questions about e-reader devices now than I did immediately following the holiday season.  I still get one or two a week, probably, but it was pretty constant for the month of January.  The hardware-related questions I get now seem to be more from people who are either upgrading, changing devices for one reason or another, or who are at least a little more aware of e-books and e-readers than those who got on the holiday present bandwagon.

Second, I get more questions about e-books now than I did then.  People have their devices and are looking for books.  They're looking for better, faster, cheaper, and more books!  We've signed up with the Overdrive Advantage Plan, so we'll be able to provide more e-books and e-audio books soon.

Next, the whole Harper Collins e-book limits business hasn't affected us very much.  A very small percentage of our e-book collection are Harper Collins titles, and an even smaller number of our total circulation are HC titles.  So, while I agree that their limit is a very arbitrary number and won't work for a lot of e-book lenders out there (and sets a bad precident for other publishers to follow), it hasn't been a big deal for us...yet.

Finally, the Amazon/Overdrive partnership announcement for Kindle Library Lending was huge!  I am extremely happy about this, and I hope it works out as nicely as they've made it sound.  I always feel like I need to apologize to Kindle owners when they ask about our Overdrive collection.  It's certainly not my fault the collection isn't currently compatible, but I can't wait until I don't have to give the "UNLESS you're a Kindle user..." speech anymore.

As for me, I do not own an e-reader.  Maybe someday I will (ok, probably someday I will), because I do like them a lot.  For now, I'm happy to work with my library's seven devices every now and then and read paper books the rest of the time.

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