eReaders . . . and Their Ultimate Demise

February 17, 2011 at 8:40 pm (Uncategorized)

So as my interaction with eReaders continues, I am currently gearing up to teach my first class to our public library’s patrons. So where does that leave me? I am practicing  a lot on my coworkers. While I am informing them on how to download eBooks from Overdrive, I in fact, find that I am learning a lot more about the service and devices than I ever thought I would have before.  It also makes me ponder the future of eReaders and their role within libraries.

in all my practicing, one of my greatest discoveries is the application of Project Gutenberg. It allows for our patrons to have access to over 33,000 public domain titles with 15,000 titles available in the ever popular, and practical, ePub format. It is also a great way for patrons to practice downloading titles because items from Project Gutenberg do not count against Overdrive’s title allowances. Although some of the titles may not be the most desirable, such as an eBook filled with just primary numbers, it does grant the public access to many popular classic titles, such as Metamorphosis by Kafka.  It also allows me to alleviate  some of the disappointment Kindle users have when they discover that their device will not work with Overdrive; at             least they can access some titles through Gutenberg.  It also helps to mention that they can use Overdrive with their desktop or laptop for new titles. I hate to leave a patron skulking away because they got a Kindle.  In essence, Project Gutenberg is my band-aid for Kindle users at the public library.

This journey has also led me to thoughts about mobile devices and eReaders.  For instance,you do not need an eReader to read eBooks.  Sure their functional and snazzy to have, but they are not a necessity.  You can just read them on your desktop or laptop.  In “Integrating eBooks and eReaders into Your Library” with Susan Polanka, the death of the eReader is already being predicted to occur sometime  around 2015.  In fact, it could be stated that its death is slowly happening right now as each minute passes.  The future is more about devices that have multiple applications. Androids and Apple’s iPhone and iPads have illustrated the power in having functionality in one device, as opposed to having to always have several at one’s disposal, as being the way of the future. Other companies seem to understand this, especially with the wave of Droid tablets set to hit the market this year.  Of course,  I can’t really see myself answering a call on a tablet without feeling ridiculous, but the market is moving to devices that do more than one simple application.

So is the eReader a dying device?  Perhaps.  I think it is a great tool for academic and learning purposes.  Instead of carry around a backpack full of heavy textbooks, it would be much nicer, and easier on one’s back, to have all books loaded onto an eReader.  However, with academic libraries already circulating iPads and laptops, perhaps the eReader will be phased out of this area as well.  Only time will tell.  I have a feeling though, as with most technology, it is only a matter of time before the scythe of the Grim Reaper fall down on the eReader.




  1. Andrea said,

    I won’t miss having a dedicated device, nor will I miss Amazon’s uber restrictive content management, but unless someone gets to work soon I am going to miss the Kindle’s e-ink. My print-generation eyes really respond well to the e-ink so much better than what’s currently available on a computer screen, iPad or nook.

  2. Molly Keener said,

    I have to echo Andrea’s preference for e-ink. I stare at various screens – giant desktop, netbook, iPad, phone, sometimes TV – throughout the day, and I want a break when I’m reading. Before becoming a NOOK owner, I printed any PDF longer than 3-4 pages, as I didn’t like to read that much on a backlit device. While I agree that multifunctional devices are usually a benefit, if e-ink ereaders fall to backlit tablets, my use of ebooks – which I *love* – will stop.

    • melissabrisbin said,

      I will have to see if I can have a chance to test the e-ink. I have yet to encounter a Kindle–being in the public library, the product just frustrates me because of the unwillingness to open up its format.

  3. Cyber-Trout said,

    I agree. Amazon’s reader is a superior reader in all aspects except playing well with others. That is what will kill the ereader!

    • melissabrisbin said,

      Since Amazon’s Kindle won’t work with anyone outside of it’s own company, I’m curious if they will remain as valuable and popular as they are now.

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