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eBooks: Current State in Libraries

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Guest Post from Graham Lavender, Associate Librarian, The Michener Institute of Education at University Health Network [well over due for posting, sorry Graham!]

On March 17 & 18, I had the pleasure of attending eBooks Symposium! The Current State of the Art in Libraries at the University of Toronto iSchool. The room was filled with mainly public librarians from across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), though some came from as far as Ottawa. There were a number of vendors in attendance (not just including those who gave presentations). The many insights into the world of ebooks wouldn’t all fit into a blog post, but I share some of the highlights.

Stephen Abram, conference co-chair and Executive Director, Federation of Ontario Public Libraries, kicked things off with a fascinating look at the data behind ebook usage in Ontario. For example, 41% of people surveyed indicated they had “checked the library’s online catalogue, downloaded an item, or accessed other materials via the library’s website,” and the top two “specific types of electronic resources used on the library’s website” were fiction ebooks and non-fiction ebooks. Considering that 86% of Ontarians have read at least one book in the past year, it’s no surprise that the demand for ebooks continues to grow, especially in Metro Toronto and other urban parts of the GTA, where ebook usage is most prevalent. Take a look through Stephen’s slides for more data: http://www.slideshare.net/stephenabram1/e-books-symposium-intro

Next up was Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library, to talk about the Fair

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OLA Poster: Mobile Access to Academic eBook Content

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A Ryerson investigation

Poster developed by: Josephine Choi and Naomi Eichenlaub; Ryerson University

Like most academic libraries, Ryerson provides access to ebooks on many different platforms. This project will report on our investigation into mobile accessibility of Ryerson library ebooks. For each of our ebook platforms we will test mobile ebook access on different devices including iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle and Kobo. We will also determine which platforms allow for online/offline access to content. Results will be presented in a spreadsheet / table with related graphs and background information.

Ebook Xmas Extravaganza!!

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Are you ready? Hamilton Public Library Chief Librarian Ken Roberts and I talked about ebooks a few weeks ago for an Education Institute “Conversations with Leaders” series. We talked about was the huge increase in ebook circulation over that last 18 months and how there was a real spike after Christmas last year. A recent Toronto Star article emphasized the same situation with ebooks in the Toronto Public Library.

So have you made your plans for supporting the even greater tsunami of ebook seekers following holiday gift giving of electronic goodies? If you thought it was ebook crazy last year, this year will be even multiplied at least ten fold. Suggestion: make it really clear on the front page of your website how to deal with ebooks — how to download to particular devices (step by step), how to find ebooks in your collection, tips, FAQs, etc. Be prepared so your customers don’t get frustrated and bypass your library.

Retailers have Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I think libraries should have a catchy name for the ebook extravaganza following electronic holiday giving — Ebook Xday, or maybe just Ebookday. Got some other suggestions?

Downloading E-Books Made Easy (Even from the Library)

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Thank you Stacey Nordlund. Stacey has created the eBooks Made Easy: How to Download Library eBooks to eReaders and Mobile Devices. I’ve used her excellent, easy to follow instructions, with my iPad as well as with a Kobo and Sony eReader and they were/are a life-saver. Why is it so easy to download ebooks we purchase, yet so complex to download ebooks to be borrowed? I know this situation for public libraries will eventually be simplified, but, in the meantime thanks, Stacey, for creating this and for your permission to share; do most libraries have instructions like this for their users?

Ebooks aren’t there yet???

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I am not sure that I agree with John C. Abell’s article in Wired, 5 Reasons Why E-Books Aren’t There Yet:

1. An unfinished e-book isn’t a constant reminder to finish reading it. My kindle is always with me (that’s why I got into trouble when I dropped it in the bathtub!)

2. You can’t keep all your books in one place. I find this reason to be really interesting as ebooks are sorted by app and unless you use only one (like a Kindle) you will need some other app to put them all together. Calling all librarians — you’ll have this one figured out soon I’m sure. Just look at the “Amazon”-like book catalogs in many libraries.

3. Notes in the margin make you think. Hmmmmm, white space in ebooks for readers to riff in…..interesting.

4. Ebooks are positioned to be disposable, but their prices aren’t. Well, there is some progress in the ability to share ebooks and libraries are finding more ways to lend ’em. But we are definitely not there yet.

5. Ebooks can’t be used for interior design. No, but they take up a hell of a lot less space in your house or office! Thank goodness! And you can take your collection with you anywhere you go.

So maybe we aren’t there yet, but we’re getting closer! And I can’t wait for all the ebook discussions at Internet Librarian 2011 . There is a two day stream of programs planned, Ebook Evolution

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Google Book Tip

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Heard about this last week at Computers in Libraries 2011 in DC amidst lots of discussion about ebooks. Google Books allows library users to preview books, find what they like and need, and access it in their library. This can be done through the “Find in a library” link which appears in each record in Google Books. For books in full view or preview, this list of links appears on the left-hand side of the screen; for snippet or no preview on the right side of the screen. When clicked on, this link runs a search for this volume in Worldcat, giving you the libraries closest to your location that have it in their collections. Of course, then users can click through to put the book on hold.

For those of you who missed James Crawford, Engineering Director, Google books at the conference, check out his talk. And also a great panel discussion of ebooks and Google books by Roy Tennant, Stephen Abram, Dick Kaser, and Marshall Breeding.

 

Confessions of a Former Book Lover

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I love to read, always have — what a surprise right? And I always thought I liked the actual books but now I know it is really the content I love — the ideas, the puzzles, the stuff that makes you think and imagine. And I know this how? I am in love with my Amazon Kindle. I thought it would be great for taking a bunch of books away with me when I’m gone for several weeks or so. Less weight since air travel is such a pain these days. I wanted to try it out as I have always love to gadgets. I was amazed last November when a plane I was on had half the people using ebook readers.

So I downloaded a bunch of books to take away with a month ago. BTW, it is easy on the Kindle as it has wireless capabilities. I loved the feel of the Kindle, the weight, the ease of use as soon as I started using it. I could bump the font up so I don’t have to squint (yeah, I’m getting old!). I could take it anywhere; even on the bright sunny beach it excelled. The one thing I had not anticipated was that I could rest the reader on my knee, on the back of the seat in front of me on the plane, on a pillow and only flick the next page button — so almost hands free, amazing. The Kindle even passed the bathtub test

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