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Posts Tagged ‘digital reader’

Even for a librarian due dates can prove troublesome. I checked out an old copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes from the local library and was immediately engrossed in the quick, clever, and detailed stories. However,  it was placed on reserve for another patron and I was out of luck in finishing it up. In addition, I was in the middle of a nail-biter that had me at the edge of my seat and it left me guessing. I returned the book promptly but with a plan. Knowing that the title was out of copyright I would suffer through an electronic version.

Horrible computer text and formatting awaited me as I pulled up a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories from Project Gutenberg  and made mince meat of the many stories in no time. Yet, it wasn’t over- like the Grinch whose heart grew larger with experience so did mine! My heart was developing a fondness for digital books like none I had ever experienced. It was then that I knew that I needed an e-book program that could provide: bookmarks, large collection organization, dual page viewing, epub access, and more. I tested several programs but none compared to the shining efforts of Adobe Digital Editions! Yes, Adobe! Oh how it holds out of copyright works and displays them for my viewing pleasure.

[image from downloadsquad.com]

Today I find myself quite sold on digital books, if the software and price are right,  in the aforementioned case: free. However, I would gladly pay for access to comic books and select titles. Still a great wealth of information exists in the public domain waiting to be grabbed up and digested by human brains. Check out the top downloads from Project Gutenberg and indubitably you’ll find a handful of titles that will leave you saying, “I’ve been meaning to read that”.

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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.

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