The Amazon Kindle has made the largest splash in the soon to be saturated pool of e-readers. Their massive collection and name recognition paired with a solid device has given them the upper hand. However, this year’s CES is revealing multiple platforms and companies looking to make their e-reader the next must-have gadget (see ipod). Just to give you an idea of where this industry is heading, check out Gizmodo.com under the tag: tablet. It will be a buyers market but things definitely need time to take shape. We don’t know what Apple and Microsoft have up their sleeves just yet.
I have been an Apple fan since a wee-lad but MS appears to have something on the horizon that can challenge the playing field, the Courier.
So where would this leave the library? It would leave libraries with a greater niche to fill! Users will want content and many libraries, as they already do, can offer digital loans. And not everyone can afford an e-reader or will want one. Libraries may have the option of offering e-readers for use within the library or for check-out (how that will work may prove tricky). If cheap e-readers are developed, we’re talking sub $50, then loaning them out wouldn’t be too much of an issue (pun not intended).
I look forward to the technological innovation and changes ahead. More importantly the chance to have all of Balzac, Proust, Montaigne, Eliot, Lee and Kirby’s works in one portable device.