Tuesday, September 30, 2008

To Kindle or Not to Kindle

I was at breakfast this morning with my college age daughter having breakfast at our local diner and I saw a gentleman with a Sony e book reader. I had met a fellow librarian at Book Expo who had a Sony and showed it to me. I have looked longingly at Amazon at the Kindle. But near 500.00 and e book costs have made me resist buying either the Sony or the Kindle. If the cost were $100.00 or LESS, I might consider...just like when I HAD TO BUY a portable DVD player to take on trips when the price went to less than $200.00 and was really closer to $100.00. I carried it to far cities like Boston, but I only used it once or twice.

I love quilting and reading magazines and books. I always go on vacation with at least three books. My daughter almost fills her suitcase with books until the new restrictions on number and weight of the suitcase. I also love listening to audio books as I drive. Sometimes I have to sit in the car for awhile to just listen a little more. The MP3 format for audiobooks is wonderful. I believe that most libraries and consumers will be only downloading instead of using discs in five years. But I do not know if the same will be said about Kindles or Sony e-books.

I now know the reason why I am reluctant to buy a Kindle after reading an article in American Libraries titled: "The Elusive E-Book." The author states in his article: "Why would anyone pay $300 to $400 for a dedicated reader devise when the display and interface are not as good as a paper book. Walt Crawford concisely put it, "Print books work."Pundits and vendors have said for years that resistance to reading book on computers are generational. Children raised with computers would flock to e-books and would reject paper. That might be true if the problems were psychological, but the problems are physical. They relate to the fact that as a species, we were designed to scan the horizon and do fine tasks such as reading seated with our work on the ground or in our laps.The problems are real. Patrons will use online versions of journal articles, encyclopedias and other sources of short text, but novel length e books are a disappointment. As the author stated "Books work."

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