Ereader Boom II: Is your library ready?

October 7, 2011
Posted in: Board Member Posts, Buzz

image of auditorium

Yesterday, I spoke about Library Renewal at the annual meeting of the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services in Lansing, Michigan. It was a great event, and I enjoyed discussing the organization, our mission, and the current state of electronic content in libraries.

I discussed the latest developments in ebooks and ereaders, including the addition of Amazon’s Kindle to the list of devices and apps that are compatible with Overdrive ebooks. I think we need to gear up another busy holiday season and first-quarter of 2012.

According to IDC, shipments of ereaders for 2011 will hit 27 million units, up from a previous forecast of 16.2 million units. Tablet shipments are forecast to exceed 62 million units. This report included the then-unnamed Amazon tablet in its estimates; but not the two newer, less expensive e-ink models. The report also said that this year the magic price point for dedicated readers will be under $100. At least in Amazon’s ad-supported models, the two new e-ink models fit that trend.powerpoint slide of ereaders

What does this mean for libraries? I think it’s safe to say that even as many libraries haven’t fully adjusted to Ereader Boom I  at the end of 2010 and early 2011, Ereader Boom II is on the horizon.

In the new few weeks, I will blog specifically about the current problems with ereaders/ebooks in libraries, and offer practical solutions to managing these collections.

The future blog posts will help libraries answer the following questions:

Patron questions:

  • What should I buy? – resource comparison guides (tablet vs ereader and comparisons within each category)
  • How does my device work with library ebooks? – links to hands-on video tutorials and other resources.
    •  Including the seasonal favorite: I just got this thing [ereader/tablet] for (insert holiday here). Can I put library ebooks on it?

Staff questions

  • How do we better manage troubleshooting questions? In person, over the phone?
  • The technological capabilities of both patrons and staff can be obstacles to the successful development of these services: how do we improve both?

And, anything else I came across that will be helpful. Some posts will provide quick fixes, while others will cover larger topics. I hope to interview people who are working with new approaches to some of these problems.

I hope you will tune in, and share your insights in the comments. If you have something to share that will help the library community as a whole—a program, a project, etc.—drop a line on our contact form.

Matt Weaver

Board Member

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