Pretty much every week, I get at least one question from a friend or colleague about ebook readers, audio books on the iPod, or some other technology questions as it pertains to reading. Even my kids have been asking.
Also, as I have mentioned on this blog before, the RA Department at the BPL is purchasing an ebook reader before the end of the year (probably a Sony reader) and the staff is going to spend some time test driving it and thinking about how it could be used by patrons, if at all.
I realize that until we all take turns using it, with the patron in mind, we will not fully understand all of the advantages and disadvantages of this technology. For example, I was talking with a staff member at another library about her mother's use of the Kindle. She said that her mother had all but stopped reading due to eye problems, but now with help from a family member, she has rediscovered her joy of reading on her Kindle. The Kindle is light enough for her to hold it comfortably and she can make the print as big or as little as she wants. Now she is back to her voracious reading.
My problem with the Kindle is that you can only use it with Amazon, and I would have to buy the ebooks. As a librarian, I rarely buy a book, since I have access to all that I want for free at my work. The Sony reader I could at least use with my library card to "borrow" ebooks.
Technology and reading is nothing new, however. Technology has effected the ways we read for thousands of years. In fact, if you want to know my favorite reading technological advance, it is the invention of moveable type. If you want to move closer to the present, I also really like "print on demand." Both are technologies that have made printing books easier and cheaper.
I am not completely convinced on the ebook reader thing. In a past Monday Discussion, I listed my opinion on ebooks as opposed to paper ones, here.
So my question today is, what is your favorite technological advance in reading and books... ever? I am just trying to put this whole ebook phenomenon in perspective.
To follow past Monday Discussions, click here.
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