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Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Discussion: eBooks

We haven't talked about eBooks here on the Monday Discussion for quite a while.  But, this week, I have eBooks on the mind for a couple of reasons.  First, we are obviously getting many questions about eBook readers and how patrons can access eBooks if they were to get a reader for Chirstmas.

Our fearless BPL RA leader Kathy has done quite a bit to both prepare our staff to handle these questions and to help the patrons make educated consumer choices.  She is leading multiple eBook trainings for the staff the entire month of December.  Then, in 2012, she will also begin to offer the same classes to patrons.

Right now, we also offer a permanent "Technology Petting Zoo," for all patrons who walk into our doors.  The picture here on the left shows you what we have, but I will explain.  Right next to the RA desk we have the computer you see here.  In front of it we have (attached with pull out security cords) a Sony eReader, a Nook, an iPad, and a Kindle.  These have some books downloaded on them.

Patrons are encouraged to pull them, handle them, push their buttons, and just experience each.  This has been a very useful display for patrons who are looking to buy an eReader since this is really the only place where you can see all 4 different readers in one place, at one time.

At this station we can walk you through the downloading process using our department library card.  We are also trained to help you download a book to your personal reader using the Library's free wireless.

As you can imagine, we are swamped with requests from now through January helping people to choose an eReader and then to set up the one they get as a holiday present.

The second reason I have eBooks on the mind is that, for the first time, I have officially added eBooks to the RA class in which we discuss formats.  Along with Graphic Novels and Audiobooks, this week, we will also discuss eBooks.

So for today's Monday Discussion I want you to share your personal experience with eBooks so far.

I will start.  Currently, I still view eBooks as a novelty.  I have an iPad so that is my chosen vehicle for reading them.  I have used Overdrive from the BPL website to check out a book, but the wait list for the hotter titles is very long.  I just checked out whatever was available to read it.

Personally, I prefer a regular book or audio book to an eBook.  I always have my iPod in my purse, and it is loaded with at least one audiobook. I also carry a phyiscal book with me everywhere I go.  Maybe if I had a dedicated eReader (and not the family iPad that we all share) I would commit to eBooks more.  But since I work in the library, I have constant access to just about any book I could every want to read on a shelf right in front of me.  It is less effort to grab the physical book.

I am enjoying eBooks though for my work reviewing horror novels.  Previously, publishers had to send hard copies for review, but now, I have them email me the links to download to my iPad.  It streamlines the process for me and the publishers.

My kids are enjoying eBooks too.  My daughter was assigned The Secret Garden for class and was able to read it on the iPad since it is available for free.  My son also read The Velveteen Rabbit on the iPad (also free).  They both enjoyed the process, but have not begged me for more eBooks.  They each read a lot too, but again, between the public library and the school library, they have plenty of books.

So what about you? Share your personal eBook experiences with me for today's Monday Discussion.

Click here for the Monday Discussion archive.


Kathy at BPL said...

My experience all started from forcing myself to learn everything I could because I HAD to for the library and my job. At first I hated it - it was new and scary and overwhelming. Now I have come to terms with a situation in which I can never know all the answers and will never be on top of it all because it changes too fast.
I have a Kindle (received as a present) that I really did not use until I could check out library books. Personally I prefer the physical copy of the book but don't see e-books/readers as the enemy. If you are reading, I am happy.

John BPL RA said...

My most hilarious experience was having Kathy set it to French and then not being able to return to English. Ha!

Generally speaking, I was not a fan at first but have now grown to appreciate the technology more. Seeing people download and read books on their phones was certainly a big illustration of how people who may not otherwise pick up a book might benefit.

Anonymous said...


I will always prefer the feel
and intimate nature of an
actual book, but recognize
the attraction and convenience
of an e-book. I own an iPad
and have only begun to read
parts of e-books but did find
it easier and more comfortable
than I expected