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?

To-Read Tuesday

01/02/2011 § 2 Comments

Here’s what we’re reading this week:

Micah -

Confession – I prefer magazines to books. (I know, another worst-librarian-ever moment.) I love the concise writing and broad nature of content that a magazine offers, and I like to feel like I’m keeping up with cultural happenings. So here’s the real confession – I am a Details magazine addict. Been a subscriber since like 2003 and whenever one comes in the mail, I read it cover to cover that night. I know it’s kind of smutty and not as high brow as GQ or Esquire, but comon… it is because of Details that I became a fan of Michael Chabon, whose books I actually have read. Well one of them. So far.

Article of note in this month’s Details: The New Entrepreneur – about the current “start-up” boom, especially in NYC.

Heidi -

I just got a NOOKcolor and am finishing my first book on there right now. Well, I finished it last night, actually. I checked out Brent Runyon’s Surface Tension: a novel in four summers from the library and (after some frustration) transferred it onto my ereader. LOVED the ereader experience and the book.  It’s a (typical) coming-of-age story except that the writing is really raw (just how I like it). On my desk right now: Bite-Sized Marketing: Realistic solutions for the overworked librarians by Nancy Dowd, Mary Evangeliste & Jonathan Silberman.

Julia -

A packed semester means that I’ve shelved the few books I was reading for leisure, but that doesn’t mean other goodies aren’t getting read! This week for class I’m reading Glut by Alex Wright, which documents our relationship with information (and our attempts to organize and control it) through history. There’s some very interesting stuff in there, and while I scratched my head a bit at some of the examples he chose, I’m looking forward to reading the rest. Also reading Beatrice Ward’s article on typography entitled “The Chrystal Goblet” for my calligraphy class.


Lately I’ve been a complete book club drop-out.  You’d think the librarian in the group would be the first to finish the book but not recently.  I blame the start of the semester and the fact that I just can’t seem to get into either book.  One of my book clubs (yes I’m in two!) is reading Rebecca while the other is reading Cutting For Stone.  Both are supposed to be fantastic.  Yet I find myself just stuck and at the point where I, gasp, may not finish either one.  It is really hard for me to admit that.  But don’t tell my book clubs!  For now it’s back to my two textbooks for my Evaluations class, Practical Research Methods for Librarians and Information Professionals and The Evaluations and Measurement of Library Services.

Lauren -

I just got a Kindle 3, and I’m incredibly happy with it. I’m currently reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson; this English major fell in love with science last semester during my Science Reference course, and Bryson’s easy-to-comprehend book is absolutely fascinating. Along the same vein, I’m reading Bad Science by Ben Goldacre, and I think it should be required reading for everyone ever. It is important to be able to analyze the mainstream version of a science story, and to be aware of how often the media bungles science writing. If you’re a future science or medical librarian, these are definitely for you!

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