Before we can even begin to discuss libraries and eReaders & libraries and eBooks, we have to determine exactly what libraries have in the way of eBooks.
So lets start with what we have:
A little comparison – now this is from my experience. Things change very quickly and some of the information of this chart (and the one on your handout) could be wrong. Consult with your vendor to get definitive answers.
This year at ALA, eBooks were a hot topic and quite a few organizations announced new systems and new partnerships. These are the ones to get most excited about.
There are a lot of unknowns until they’re finally released. 3M eBooks and Freading are currently BETA testing, but as far as I know, Axis 360 does not have any libraries trying them yet.Some things that we’re seeing with these that might have an impact upon the larger library eBook world.
Cloud computing – 3M is the first(ish) to embark on this across the board.Cloud computing – broadly defined: Making your files accessible via the Internet. Some examples: when you email yourself a document, share a google doc, upload a photo to facebook – you’ve put all those things in “the cloud”For eBooks – whispersync was the first iteration of this. If you have an Amazon device, all of your notes and highlights are stored “in the cloud”, so if you connect to the Internet, your books will sync on multiple devices. This is also true of iBooks.3M is building their system around this idea. The only library eBook system with anything similar are Kindle books from Overdrive, which will sync with Whispersync.Cloud computing is big. Apple and Amazon both offer cloud services now where, for a fee, you can upload so much data (so many files) to “the cloud” and access them anywhere. Google is also BETA testing a music service that, for free, uploads your music to “the cloud”
Compatibility – this is a huge issue for libraries and somewhere where Overdrive has just pulled ahead. Kindle compatibility is huge. If your books don’t work with the readers that your patrons want to use, particularly popular readers, then you might as well not have a collection.
The biggest issue in eBooks today is not new technology for libraries, but ownership of materials.The Harper Collins fiasco wised many people up to the fact that we don’t really own our eBooks. What does that mean for libraries? What if we want to change systems? There is a legal battle examining this right now, but it will lead to some interesting developments for libraries.Freading takes advantage of this. Acknowledge that you own none of the titles and lose all control over your collection, and in return patrons no longer have to pay for individual books, you’ll just pay as the middle man for a patron – you’ll pay per download rather than for each book. This is similar to their Freegal system for music – except these books aren’t owned, they’re still lend.
And in a public library, what’s the point of having eBooks if you have no way to read them. Start to pass around eReaders.
So lets start with what we have:
Before we get started. Most of these names you’re going to recognize. Just last week Kindle announced their new line of Kindles. A quick introduction:Kindle had before a keyboard version, the DX (extra big for large print) – both eInkNow there’s the Kindle (the former Kindle is now the Kindle Keyboard) – with a navigation “wheel” on the bottom and on screen keyboardThere’s the Kindle Touch with a touchscreen (and on-screen keyboard)And the Kindle Fire – an eReader tablet that also plays movies and music – some Android apps
Sony also recently announced a new version. While before there were three versions (a little overpriced), now there’s a more moderately priced 6 in. version.The interesting thing about this particular reader is that (a) they’ve partnered with Overdrive to become the first eInkeReader to make direct downloads available(b) They’ve teamed up with Pottermore and are sending a voucher to get the first HP book free from Pottermore.
There are a variety of kinds of eReaders right now – so a quick breakdown (with flow chart!)
eInk Vs. Tablet
eInk readers come in two types – “navigable” – made up word – vs. touch screen
Tablets come in two types – eReader tablets and actual tabletsFunctionality, content, and processors is the biggest difference. It’s more of a continuum than a one-or-the-other hereThe iPad has the strongest processor, the most apps, movies, music, and books – a camera, microphone, etc…The Kindle Fire has a medium processor, some apps, movies, music, and booksThe Nook Color has the smallest processor, some apps, and books
Multiple uses has both tablets and Handheld devices – handheld devices include iPods and Phones of all types
eReaders are also changing – some of the things that you will be able to find in eReaders upcoming:eInk technology is going to change: Color & Video – color will help eInk – I don’t think that video is going to. The technology won’t ever match up with an LCD screen.In development: a screen that can switch between eInk & Tablet = gold mineScreen technology is going to change – they’re going to become flexible for sure, easier to use, and integratedThese technologies are going to become more integrated in our daily life – your tablet will stop being your tablet and will be integrated into everything. Think of your cell phone – they started in cars and now they’re everywhere and they’re a necessity.
So lets start with what we have:
Some apps just show static books – Kindle, iBooks, B&N, etc..They let you take and sync notes, but the experience is almost identical to reading a physical book.
Other apps are dynamic – they include video and other interactive elements. They often have things akin to the extra features of a DVD.Morris, Toy Story, On the Road, Our Choice (pinnacle for adults)
What’s coming:Blio is the first that I know of that is an app with native support for interactive elements (videos, etc…) embedded into a book – Kindle, iBooks, etc… will need to move into this directionI believe that added content is the future. The great thing about tablets is that you can do so much more than a book. Blio also has the ability to do audio and video notes, but I think is another be plusSocial reading will be big – right now you can share your notes from your Kindle on twitter or you can see popular highlights that people have made – this will become bigger. Imagine having a book club where you all read the books simultaneously and shared notes – implications for schoolingI think that people have a chance right now to re-think books from a whole new perspective. This is a whole new medium, and we won’t continue to see just pdfs thrown onto a screen.
Things to get from a patron (stolen from Overdrive, but honestly, the best list I’ve seen)Patron’s Library Card Number/ID/Other Login InformationTitle and format of problem mediaPatron’s Operating SystemPatron’s Browser and Version NumberDevice that the patron is usingText of any error messages
Problem Exists Between Keyboard and ChairKeep a list of problem questions and answers for patrons:Ex: My audiobook won’t download (On Overdrive): Did you perform the Windows Media Player Security Upgrade?Ex: My audiobook won’t transfer to my iPod (On Overdrive): Did you check manually manage music?Double check everything: What website are they on? (This is a multi-part question and essential to good What format is the book? What type of device are they using? Have they done all of the necessary steps to set-up their software/device?
All these things are your friends- Google- Your vendor’s help site- Forums (*gasp*)- Coworkers- Your vendor’s help site/email- Your actual friends
The Latest on eReaders Keeping Up with the Technogeeks The Library Network October 5, 2011
How Do I Choose? Do not Consider sunk costs Do “what we’ve always done” Do “what everyone else is doing” Do it because it’s cheap Do Evaluate all the options Make lists and comparisons Talk to vendors Talk to other libraries Try before you buy