Sunday, March 25, 2012

e-books - why I am a fan!

We bought 10 Kobo's a little while ago, and I tested one for a few months. I liked it so much I asked Santa for one for Christmas and he obliged.

Before I used an e-reader I was not sure of its benefits, but I have since discovered them and here are the benefits that I have fallen in love with:

1. They are light and small for travelling / commuting. (and I do 2 hrs of commuting a day + much international travel)
2. I can have many books on the reader and it does not weight anymore (I always have something to read!)
3. With the help of wifi I can buy the sequel to a series I am reading within seconds 24/7 (never have memory loss between books).
4. I can change the font size, type & justification (brilliant for older eyes!)
5. The battery lasts for ages. (it is important not to forget to recharge!)
6. No one can see what I am reading (this is one of the big advantages of having them available for students to borrow)
7. I can annotate and save quotes from the books I am reading, and access these quotes in the one place, and have them easily accessible (great for Seth Godin's work and other quotable authors)
8. e-books have proven to be cheaper than print books. (as they should be in all practicalities)
9. I can browse a book shop wherever I am! (dangerous!)
10. I am finding that I am reading more for pleasure. (wonderful!)
11. I can find many excellent free reads (thanks for your generosity Cory Doctorow!)

At school the take up has not been that enthusiastic so far (our marketing has been slow to get off the ground due to other commitments), however we are slowly winning students over by offering the latest releases on e-reader on the day of their release before we receive the hard copy. Or if they ask for a book we don't have on the shelves, I ask them if they would like the ebook version, purchase it right then and there for them, and they are happy to give it a go. They then tend to read more of the books on the Kobo before returning it.

We have been working with Calibre software to keep track of the books we purchase through the kobo desktop on each of the kobo readers. If you haven't heard of Calibre, you should really explore it. It is an excellent piece of open source software to help with ebook management.

We are looking into and waiting for Wheelers books to sort out the international loaning rights for the publishers they deal with and we will then have a eloaning service up and running. I blogged about them previously here.

I am also looking into Dawsons books who do non fiction ebooks. They have an interesting eloaning model where you can buy books from them or you can rent short term. Great for students doing the extended essay or personal project who sometimes look into obscure topics that we may not want to fill the shelves or readers with.

E-books open up more opportunities for libraries to deliver services and allow for greater reading opportunities.

Footnote : I have just returned from 4 days of camp, all of our Kobo's have been checked out with the Hunger Games on them and I have just had a request to purchase the sequels thanks to the film release this last weekend!

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