Lots of people in the book world are analyzing and talking about e-readers and what effect they will have. Amazon crowed that sales of Kindle books surpassed sales of hard cover books recently. Some people are foretelling *The End of the Book*.
Of course, we’re interested in how these new-fangled devices will change our world in the library, and trying to adapt to those changes that we can see coming. So in addition to taking opportunities to play with all of the Kindles and Nooks and Sony readers and iPads, I’m also talking with other book lovers in my daily life. I talked with fellow soccer parents at a game, I talked with my book group, and I even talked with my teenage son. Here are the reactions I got:
*My son was absolutely against e-books. He said it took too long to turn the page.
*One person said that she loves to write her reactions to the book in the margins. How could she do that in an e-book? Her husband, however, loves to read on his smart phone because of the convenience.
*Almost everybody said that they would be absolutely great for traveling, as it would be so much easier than schlepping around a stack of books. But one person said that it would be worse to lose or have an e-reader stolen than a cheap paperback.
*One lady said that she would love to have an e-book, as it would mean she would no longer have shelves of books filling up her bedroom. But even if she did get an e-book, she would still buy books to use as “bath tub books”.
*One lady said she would use an e-reader for general reading, but if she really liked a book, she would purchase a print copy.
*Several people said that e-books for young children were completely inappropriate. On the one hand, they need the mental stimulation of physically turning pages, maybe chewing on the corners of the board books, turning flaps, stroking fur or sandpaper, and so forth. On the other hand, children can be very rough on things: would you really want your child to throw an e-book? One mother commented that her toddlers loved the vinyl books they played with in their bath.
What do I take away from my unscientific survey? I see that physical books aren’t going away, but that they’ll be less common as they’ll fill in the margins of a reader’s life: on the cheap end that they don’t mind getting damaged and on the high end as a mark of importance in their intellectual or emotional lives.
How is Sno-Isle adapting to e-books? Check out our downloadable books! We have both downloadable e-books and audiobooks, in addition to downloadable music and videos. They can be played or seen on specific devices, as listed on the record. None are downloadable to Kindle. That’s not anything we have any control over; that’s just the way Amazon.com currently builds the Kindle and the copyrights are negotiated for each book. So download the Overdrive media console, search for a book, check to see that it goes with your device, and go!