Electronic Publications

One Librarian's Opinion - eBooks? pBooks?

...the one librarian being Greg Hill, director of the Fairbanks (AK) North Star Borough libraries. Story from Newsminer.

FAIRBANKS - “E-reader ownership doubles in six months,” proclaimed the headline to a recent Pew Research news release. However, careful readers note that the 100 percent jump was because e-book ownership among U.S. adults increased from 6 percent to 12 percent. Ownership of tablet computers like iPads and Xooms, by comparison, increased in that time period by only 3 percent. The ongoing economic crisis may be dampening consumer purchasing of electronic devices, and print book publishing is still flourishing, but Pew’s articles and the ballyhoo surrounding e-books generally is causing consternation for many print-book lovers.

“Consternation” comes from the Latin stem word “consternare,” which meant “overcome, confuse, dismay, perplex, terrify, alarm.” Many librarians embrace the convenience of e-books; after all, reading’s reading, right? Maybe not. An article from 2008 titled “Not Quite Average: An Empirical Study of Web Use” found that “On the average, Web page users have time to read at most 28 percent of the words during an average visit; 20 percent is more likely.” Being connected to social media like Facebook and Twitter multiplies the stream of messages, notices and interruptions that constantly bombard the technorati, the technologically proficient, and make sustained reading online difficult. -- Read More

Amazon to Launch Library Lending for Kindle Books

Amazon to Launch Library Lending for Kindle Books
Amazon today announced Kindle Library Lending, a new feature launching later this year that will allow Kindle customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the United States. Kindle Library Lending will be available for all generations of Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps.

"We're excited that millions of Kindle customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from their local libraries," said Jay Marine, Director, Amazon Kindle. "Customers tell us they love Kindle for its Pearl e-ink display that is easy to read even in bright sunlight, up to a month of battery life, and Whispersync technology that synchronizes notes, highlights and last page read between their Kindle and free Kindle apps."

Project MUSE Editions and the University Press e-book Consortium (UPeC) Announce Merger

Project MUSE has been the go-to source for scholarly ejournals in academic libraries for years, and now that go-to source will soon include ebooks from the University Press e-book Consortium. The two recently announced the merger, which will launch on January 1, 2012.

Maybe Harper Collins Did Libraries a Favor

I wanted to write a railing piece about the new Harper Collins twenty-six checkout limit on ebooks, but Friday I had to finish a day of work and take my wife out for a date night before I could sit down to write.

This has given me the opportunity to read the reactions of librarian-bloggers. The reactions fell into two camps. The largest group was the" believers", those who saw ebooks as a means of library renaissance on the foundation of digital content. The other group was the "skeptics". These, I include myself in this group, were willing to incorporate ebooks into the library collection, but did not put all of their trust into the format for the salvation of libraries. -- Read More

Subscriptions for the Masses

Any article that has the word "kerfuffle" in it gets a mention in my blog. This one, happily, is even of interest and relevant.

Subscriptions for the Masses. Talks about Apple's just announced subscription model for content. From the New York Observer.

JSTOR Will Introduce Online Access to eBooks Next Year

"[JSTOR] has struck agreements with four publishers—Princeton University Press, the University of Chicago Press, the University of Minnesota Press, and the University of North Carolina Press—to make their books available online next year. The e-books program, 'Books at JSTOR,' was announced today at the American Library Association’s Midwinter meeting in San Diego, according to a JSTOR spokesperson."

Click here for link to full article

'LJ,' 'SLJ' Virtual eBook Summit Draws 2,500 Attendees

Calvin Reid from Publishers Weekly reports that the one-day online event was extremely successful. The Summit featured a keynote by technologist Ray Kurzweil and more than 15 hours of presentations, "E-Books: Libraries at the Tipping Point" focused on every aspect of the developing e-book market and its impact on public, school, and academic libraries. Held September 29 and organized by Library Journal and School Library Journal, the virtual "summit" on e-books certainly delivered on its promises.

The web meeting brought together more than 40 respected experts (including this reporter and PW features editor Andrew Albanese) from across the spectrum of library professionals, academia, and tech journalism as well as the LJ/SLJ staff. An audience of more than 2,500 digital attendees (representing more than 800 public libraries, over 400 academic libraries, and more than 400 school libraries) attended the one-day virtual conference. Ian Singer, v-p, content & business development for Media Source, parent company of LJ and SLJ (no longer affiliated with PW), said the conference was meant to address the fact that "public and school libraries are struggling to understand the e-book industry. We wanted to bring libraries and publishers together and offer a huge knowledge dump about what e-books are and what the challenges are for libraries."

Did you attend? What did you think of the event?

A Library Without Walls

Robert Darnton at the New York Review of Books Blog asks:

"Can we create a National Digital Library? That is, a comprehensive library of digitized books that will be easily accessible to the general public. Simple as it sounds, the question is extraordinarily complex. It involves issues that concern the nature of the library to be built, the technological difficulties of designing it, the legal obstacles to getting it off the ground, the financial costs of constructing and maintaining it, and the political problems of mobilizing support for it.

Despite the complexities, the fundamental idea of a National Digital Library (or NDL) is, at its core, straightforward. The NDL would make the cultural patrimony of this country freely available to all of its citizens. It would be the digital equivalent of the Library of Congress, but instead of being confined to Capitol Hill, it would exist everywhere, bringing millions of books and other digitized material within clicking distance of public libraries, high schools, junior colleges, universities, retirement communities, and any person with access to the Internet."

Read the full entry.

In Study, Children Cite Appeal of Digital Reading

Many children want to read books on digital devices and would read for fun more frequently if they could obtain e-books. But even if they had that access, two-thirds of them would not want to give up their traditional print books, this according to an article today in the New York Times.

These are a few of the findings in a study being released on Wednesday by Scholastic (as in Bookfairs), the American publisher of the Harry Potter books and the “Hunger Games” trilogy.

The report set out to explore the attitudes and behaviors of parents and children toward reading books for fun in a digital age. Scholastic surveyed more than 2,000 children ages 6 to 17, and their parents, in the spring.

Parents and educators have long worried that digital diversions like video games and cellphones cut into time that children spend reading. However, they see the potential for using technology to their advantage, introducing books to digitally savvy children through e-readers, computers and mobile devices.

About 25 percent of the children surveyed said they had already read a book on a digital device, including computers and e-readers. Fifty-seven percent between ages 9 and 17 said they were interested in doing so.

Will e-readers make us lazy readers?

Jonah Lehrer has an interesting take on e-readers and the possible neurological influence of developing technologies on how we read:

The second reading pathway – it’s known as the dorsal stream – is turned on whenever we’re forced to pay conscious attention to a sentence, perhaps because of an obscure word, or an awkward subclause, or bad handwriting.
...
Sooner or later, every medium starts to influence the message. I worry that, before long, we’ll become so used to the mindless clarity of e-ink – to these screens that keep on getting better – that the technology will feedback onto the content, making us less willing to endure harder texts. We’ll forget what it’s like to flex those dorsal muscles, to consciously decipher a literate clause. And that would be a shame, because not every sentence should be easy to read.

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