Posted on May 7, 2012.
I decided to take a break from the job related discussion on my blog. It is sort of fitting. I have wanted to discuss this on my blog since I purchased a kindle late last year. I was planning to post this earlier, but as it turns out, this will be a great tie-in to our KWM e-readers program at the end of the month. So there is a shameless plug for our program is at the bottom of my post.
What got me interested in e-readers.
My adventures with e-readers started with a few of influencing factors:
1) EBSCO introducing e-books on the EBSCOHOST platform last year. I was getting more questions about e-books from our clients and I became more curious about trying out e-books because of those discussions;
2) I also had read a review of the new Kindle Fire and Nook Color in the Wall Street Journal, which added to my curiosity; (See: “Kindle Fire, a grown-up e-reader with tablet spark.” by Walt Mossberg. Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2011 and, finally
3) I just started a Staples reward card after my purchase of a box of paper and ink jet toner. When I purchased those two big items, I received $30and a $20 coupon to spend at Staples good until December 31st. They did have in “tiny” print that some items may not apply for the coupon, so I called to see if I could use the coupons for an e-reader. I was told yes they could, so it was pretty much a done deal that I would be buying one. It was just a question of what kind?
Doing my homework
To be honest, I was thinking of purchasing a low end Kindle and not the Fire. The Fire sort of had mix reviews, it was suggested that if you really wanted an Ipad, to spend the money and buy an Ipad. The Fire wasn’t bad, but to be honest, I just wanted something for reading and I still didn’t want to spend $200+ for ‘just reading’. Of course the advantage of being a librarian is that I could do a search for e-reader reviews. I came across this article from CNET that was perfect. “Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which e-reader should you buy?” By John P Falcone, CNET. com. What made this article perfect was the focus on what YOU want in the product, and then he makes the recommendations. The article asks if you are just interested in doing reading or other things (e-reader vs. tablet), what about weight and/or size of screen? How about e-ink vs. LCD? Or do you need an always on (3G or 4G) or Wi-Fi?
Based on answering the questions from the article, I realized my gut instinct for lower end Kindle was spot on. I was really only interested in having this as a book to read when I am on the road. (And no, I don’t mean while I am driving; that is what audio books are for!). I ended up with the $99 model minus $30 and the Wi-Fi with ads. I didn’t think I would need the wireless on all the time, only when I wanted to “retrieve a book.” I was a bit concerned about ones with ads, for I hate intrusive advertising. But I found that the ads are on the screen saver, they do not pop-up in the middle of my reading. Plus I have actually taken advantage of some free books or .99 cent books that I would not have been aware of otherwise. Also I opted for Kindle over a Nook, only because it looked like I had more book options with Amazon.
My experiences: The good, the bad & ugly
I only had a minor glitch getting my Kindle set up. It would not connect to my wireless at home. But before I took it back to the store and claimed defective product, I tried it in another location with free Wi-Fi. I was able to download my first book from the public library which seemed somewhat appropriate. I did end up having to call Kindle help line to find out what the problem was. After a few tries of trying to get it to access my security code to use my wireless, we did the “turn the book off and reboot.” Yes, that technique still works on any computerized device, including e-books. I haven’t had a problem since.
I have to admit the download from a book purchased from Amazon is pretty slick. I was generally pleased by that part of the Kindle. I decided to try ordering books from my public library which I could do at KCMO public library. However every book I was interested in that there was Kindle version available had a waiting list. If I wanted the book in print, there were multiple copies at the branch of my choice. The Kindle books apparently could only be loaned one book at a time. The irony was not lost on me, and I found it sort of funny. However because I wanted to see how that process worked, I went ahead and put a couple of books on hold. My only complaint has more to do with the library web site in finding e-books. Apparently Overdrive is in a separate area and not in the same catalog as the rest of the materials. It is not very intuitive and I had to hunt around to find the Overdrive link on the web page. But once the book is on hold, you do get an email notice when the book is available with a grace period (five days) to download it. Also their loan period I think is generous, allowing the user three weeks to finish the book. Well unless you are a very slow reader, I think it is generous.
I have to admit, I have enjoyed reading on the Kindle. The e-ink is easy on the eyes and it is light and thin which makes it idea for travel, I am not loaded down and it fits easily in my purse, back pack or computer case. Probably my biggest disappointment is I cannot “share” a book as easily as print. I had read in the reviews you can share, what they did not say is that the majority of the books cannot be shared and I find that frustrating. If I purchase a print book, I can loan that to my friends, but with a Kindle, if another friend has a Kindle, the odds are I will not be able to “share.”
So there you have it, my experience in “e.” I encourage you to come to the lunch/educational program on May 31st. You will get a chance to see and touch various e-readers and tablets. Find out for yourselves what will work well and what formats are right for your users at your library. Details are below:
Meanwhile it is time to get back on the road…
Your Traveling Librarian, Carol Doms
Are You Ready For the E-Revolution?
Join us for the upcoming educational event:
How eReaders & Tablets are Impacting Library Services
This is a catered brown bag luncheon where Tram Nguyen, Lee Scott, and Tom Taylor of the South Central Kansas Library System (SCKLS) will provide an introduction to the most popular electronic readers, address library applications for such eReaders and demonstrate several of these tools in a 60 to 90 minute session with possible hands-on time.
WHEN: On Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 11:30am
WHERE: At the Johnson County Public Library, Central Resource Library Conference Room – 9875 W 87th St. Overland Park, KS 66212
COST: $12 for SLA-KWM members, $15 for non-members (payment must be received prior to event by check or through PayPal)
RSVP: To Mallory Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and preferred email, as well as method of payment requested (Mallory will contact you with information on how to provide that payment) and lunch choice preferred – Turkey, Ham, or Vegetarian Sandwich or Caesar, Greek or Classic Salad – all meals come with chips and a cookie
Please pass this invitation along to colleagues, other relevant listserves, and all other parties you think may be interested!