iPads, and Kindles, and nooks! Oh, My!

19/10/2011 § 9 Comments

There has always been a hesitation to fully embrace the new. This existed when the codex,or books, with pages that you turn, took the place of scrolls that you roll, as illustrated by this hilarious video. Next, came the invention of movable type, in particular Gutenberg’s printing press. That was met by disdain from the elite due to the fact that the mechanization of the written word further widened the circle of readers, knowledge, and power structure.  Now over 500 years later, electronic communication is making its impression by way of the electronic book (e-book). Whether they are reading using an e-reader such as Kindle, Nook, iPad, or a phone or computer, the dissemination of e-books is not stopping and it’s in our interests as library students to learn as much as we can about e-books, their distribution, and a new term for me, Digital Rights Management (DRM).

DRM, as said in Wikipedia, refers to “technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals to limit the use of digital content and devices.” When applied to e-books, this can lead to publishers making drastic decisions on how their authors’ works are read. An example, and current polemic amongst public libraries, is with publisher Harper Collins and their 26 check out limit. An e-book can be borrowed a maximum of 26 times, after which a new e-book must be purchased and again limited to only 26 checkouts. Such a limit has its problems, as this video by Pioneer Library System of Oklahoma explains. Each publisher’s DRM is unique and Harper Collins decision has certainly caused quite a commotion among the public libraries.

Yet, there are other publishers, the small independent ones, whose alternatives demand further contemplation. If e-books are to be embraced, why not comingle written and electronic content together. At least that’s what one publisher, Melville House Publishing, is doing.  They sell what is called a Hybrid Book, where the print version of a book comes with additional material, called Melville House Illuminations, that “consist of highly curated text, maps, photographs, and illustrations related to the original book”. What I equate it to, is what music distributors have done to sell their recording artist’s records. They load them with additional features, such as the music video for their single, bonus tracks, or special cover art. This is just a one example of what publishers are doing to incorporate print material with electronic content but what are we as library school students learning about e-books? Being rather green to these terms, I’d like to take a class next semester that introduces me to electronic collections and services, but I’d like to hear from our readers:

What you have experienced when learning about e-content?  If the future of books is looking increasingly digital do you feel your library school education is preparing you to handle electronic content?

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§ 9 Responses to iPads, and Kindles, and nooks! Oh, My!

  • Katrina says:

    I have a NookColor and I love it… I still love holding a physical book and will always do it, but being able to access content anywhere with a wifi connection is great. I specifically got a NookColor so that I could read SJSU’s overuse of picture PDFs rather than regular pdfs. The regular nook doesn’t read them so I got a NookColor and it’s really good.

    I just thought I’d post this link about the Kindle and Amazon’s latest uproar: http://librarianinblack.net/librarianinblack/2011/10/wegotscrewed.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Librarianinblack+%28LibrarianInBlack%29

  • I totally agree that all library students should learn as much as possible about e-books. Remember when people searched for information before the e-readers, they went from one piece of information to another and that meant many books were needed to do their research. Now with e-readers you only need one book to do all your research and everything is at the touch of a button. One book gives all the information.

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