Friday, November 12, 2010

E-book Readers, and their accoutrements

Now that you have turned off the outside tap, and are huddled inside watching the mums wither, you can feel bad about not having your holiday decorations up. I'm kidding--I am of the school that says that one should not flick a switch on a colored light until the last Day After Thanksgiving sandwich has been consumed.

I am not a traditionalist, however, when it comes to e-books. People ask me about e-books all the time, and more often than not, they preface it by apologizing. Please, stop it. I may be a librarian, but I do not worship at the altar of the printed word. These days, if I added up the time each day that I spend reading from a glowing screen, or listening to audio-books, it would far surpass the time I spend staring at a piece of paper.

Yes, I grew up with books, magazines, and two daily newspapers (morning and afternoon--really). When I went to Library School we learned how to type catalog cards, but after I graduated, I created a database that printed the information for me in card format--until a grant came along to buy an automated system. Goodbye, card catalog...

Many librarians love technology. We jump on the technology bandwagon too quickly sometimes--microfiche, anyone? Second Life? I wasted an afternoon a couple of years ago, listening to a Second Life enthusiast describing how we would all be running our libraries on Second Life any minute. I wonder what he's promoting now...

The first e-book reader I saw was a RocketBook--this was in 2000 or so. It was clunky, and being circulated in a public library. Oh, yes, in 2000. We were told that they would be replacing books any minute, and here we are in 2010, and still waiting to see which e-book reader will become the standard format. Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPad?

A lot of people I know receive them as gifts, so I expect to see more in a few months from now. If you are thinking of getting one, or if someone wants to give you one, the Upper Hudson Library System does have e-books that you can load onto your reader. Please go to this page to find out which readers you can use with our collection.

If you'd like to see what titles are available in digital format (audio and e-books, and yes, some video), go to this page. Come in to the library, if you like, and ask me about it. And don't apologize. You're reading. Reading is good. I approve.

PS If you think you know an e-book reader who would like a knitted cozy to protect the gadget, here's a link to a pattern for a knitted e-book reader.