Yesterday I spent a good portion of my day talking to several people about ereaders and ebooks. I had people call the library to ask, text message me, catch me in the library and also outside of the library. Ereaders are a hot topic in Winnebago!
The biggest question: Which ereader should I buy?
My answer: I’m a librarian. I can’t tell you which one to buy, but I can tell you what I know about different ereaders, and then I can answer your questions by finding out more information. And I’m ever-so-excited to hear your interest in ebooks at the library!
And here’s what I told them: It really depends on how you’re going to use it. If you already buy books from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, you might want their ereaders. If you want to check out books from the library, you’d love the iPad’s Overdrive for Libraries app which allows you to download ebooks from the library wirelessly. If you are concerned about tired eyes, dry eyes, glare, etc. from reading off of a screen, you might want to look at e-ink technology and the e-ink-friendly-ereaders (Kindle, NOOK original and new, some knockoffs).
I have an Apple iPod touch and have downloaded the NOOK and Kindle apps to my device to just try them out. I received emails from both Barnes and Noble and Amazon yesterday that said Apple had removed the ability to purchase books from the apps. While I think this is absolutely absurd and somewhat misleading on Apple’s part, I also understand why they made this decision. They want to make money.
Just like the NOOK and Kindle will never have “check out from a library” options because the companies want you to buy their books, Apple wants you to buy ebooks from their store – iBooks.
What it comes down is money. Apple, Amazon and Barnes and Noble want to make money. While I can’t tell my patrons which company to give their money to, I can tell them how much I value something I’ll USE rather than something that’s COOL. That’s why it’s important to be informed about the different options of ereaders – and that’s what I’m going to advocate for at the library.
Of course, if a patron asks me which ereader I would buy, I’d gladly tell them I want the new NOOK and then explain my reasoning:
(1) e-ink technology
(2) battery life
(3) I was able to try it out at the store
(4) library-lending-friendly (as much as it can be)
(5) touchscreen!! (albeit a bit slower reactions than my brain is used to…)
I honestly believe there’s nothing wrong with sharing my opinion, but I do want to give the patron the opportunity to get as much unbiased information from me as they can before my gadget-envy-techno-lust-librarian-side shows too strongly.