Jamie LaRue, Director of the Douglas County Libraries, shared this great idea for training staff on eBooks and eReaders. With the approval of his Board, the library provided a $50 rebate to library staff who purchased one of 6 pre-selected eBook readers/tablet devices. Just over 100 staff took part in the rebate offer. Jamie said the staff are learning so much about eBooks and devices because they are getting hands-on experience. Staff are sharing tips and tricks with one another as well, many getting together during lunch to hash over the details of eBooks.
Cindy Orr takes a look at how readers over 55 are jumping into to eBooks in her monthly blog post.
A Pew Internet poll shows that different generations in the US use the Internet in different ways. While searching is number one, and health information is second for all ages, after that there is a considerable variation.
When you consider devices, cell phones are tops for every generation, and second place includes computers. Again, though, there is an interesting pattern. As expected, game consoles are much more popular with younger users, but eBook readers and tablets are pretty commonly divided among the generations except those over 75. Younger Boomers, ages 47-56, as a percentage own the highest number of eBook readers and tablets. This survey was conducted by Pew in August and September of last year, so with the boom in sales of readers and tablets at the end of the year, the numbers will have changed.
In Britain, a poll of over-50s done by SilverPoll.com showed that 95% of them had shopped online, and that the product they bought most was books. The managing director of SilverPoll believes that over-50s could hold the key to the rise of the eBook. Part of the reason may be that older people frequently travel after they retire and have more time, but that’s not the only reason.
Anecdotal evidence shows that one popular reason that older people buy eBook devices is because of the ability to adjust type size. A recent video that went viral shows a 99-year-old woman with glaucoma using the iPad for the first time.
An assistive technology professional recently wrote a blog post about choosing technology for an aging parent having trouble reading. Her mother was an avid library user who at first resisted the technology. Eventually, though, her arthritis made it painful to hold heavy books, so she gave in and asked her daughter for a “Kindle.” Her expert daughter’s answer? The NOOK Wi-Fi, specifically because it would work with library collections from OverDrive.
So will digital reading eventually replace large print? It seems very possible, especially with the coming generation of the elderly, who worked with computers during their careers and are not as intimidated by technology as the current over-75 cohort. But what does this mean for libraries providing eBooks? I have a few ideas:
- Make sure older patrons understand which devices work with your library collection. To many, “Kindle” is used generically, just as “Kleenex” is used instead of the word tissue. It will never occur to many people that some devices are not compatible with libraries.
- Buy a few digital reading devices that do work with your collection, and keep them around to show to patrons. Many older people have never heard of this possibility, and seeing and touching is so much better than telling. Consider having a digital reader “petting zoo” program aimed specifically at older patrons
- Large-type books have always gone out of print quickly, and if their sales drop and publishers stop printing them, your patrons with poor eyes may eventually have no choice but your digital book collection unless they qualify for service from the Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
This will be a fast growing user group because the Baby Boomer generation is huge, and they are now reaching their 60s. Any other suggestions? We love reading your comments!
- Getting Started with eBook Readers and eBooks (librarianbrain.wordpress.com)
By Megan Greer Mar 10, 2011
The newest tablet to hit the market is the Motorola XOOM and I have to agree with other reviewers, it’s pretty impressive. But is it an iPad killer? Not right now and not in its current state. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great device.
The XOOM is definitely fast, possibly one of the fastest devices I’ve reviewed. It is the first tablet to be powered with Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS. Honeycomb has an edginess, offering the industrial feel that Android fans have come to expect. With Honeycomb not being quite as polished as say iOS, it does potentially pose a problem for the not-so tech savvy user. Perhaps it is because I’m used to my iPhone that it took me a moment to navigate the device and figure out the intricacies of the OS. Once I realized how much customization there was, it turned into a positive for me.
OverDrive Media Console for Android runs quickly as well. I barely had to touch the screen to turn a page or to open the setting controls. The app also reacted well when I switched from listening to an MP3 audiobook to reading an EPUB eBook. (The latest version of OverDrive’s app for Android even includes support for Honeycomb.)
On Verizon’s 3G network and even over Wi-Fi, the browser is lickity-split. I tested the speed against my brand new HP laptop at home over Wi-Fi and was very happy with the result. Pages loaded on the XOOM less than a second behind the laptop. I can’t wait to see how fast it’ll be once it’s available on the LTE network – which you will be able to upgrade to in the coming months.
You may be wondering why I stated above that I don’t believe the XOOM is an iPad killer. There are several reasons actually. My main issue starts with the price point.
It’s pricy, and will put you back $799 without a two year contract from Verizon or if you pick one up at Best Buy. My new laptop was in that price range. If you decide on a contract for 3G connectivity, it’s $599 for the device and an additional $20 a month for the cheapest data plan. If you do the math, that’ll be another $480 (before taxes) over the course of the two year contract.
The next two strikes against the XOOM are with the screen. Early March in Cleveland, Ohio, can prove to be difficult to find a sunny day. Luckily we had a couple sunny days this week and I was able to stand outside in direct sunlight with the XOOM and really test the screen glare. To be blunt, it was bad. I don’t think you’ll be reading the upcoming installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series on your XOOM sitting on the beach in Cabo. One way to minimize the glare is to increase the brightness level in the OverDrive app. For me, that made it too bright.
The XOOM was obviously designed to be used in landscape mode considering the Motorola and Verizon logos are length wise with the front facing camera in between. I’m not sure about you but I don’t feel that landscape mode is the best for reading an eBook. It is possible to spin the device and read in portrait, but it feels awkward held in that position. That may be because it’s also heavy, 1.5 pounds to be exact. I had to prop it up against my legs while curled up on the couch or set it on a table when reading for long periods of time.
Bottom line is the Motorola XOOM is the first of many Android tablets to be released with Honeycomb. If you need one right now, by all means it is pretty awesome on several levels. For me, I’m going to wait and see where the market goes and for prices to come down. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this is not the device to purchase if you only want something to read eBooks. Since the Motorola XOOM is the first major tablet to come anywhere near the iPad I thought I’d leave you with the tech specs.
NVIDIA® Tegra™ Dual Core Processor 1 GHz
1 GB LP DDR2
32 GB of internal storage
Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)
10.1” 1280×800 display
0.51 inches thick
3G (CDMA EV-DO Rev A)
4G LTE upgradeable
Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz
Megan Greer is a retail project manager for OverDrive.
From Cindy Orr, in her monthly blog post, shares thoughts on engaging teens with eReaders.
In a post about a year ago, I suggested that reading devices may be one of the few new technologies that trickle down from an older generation to a younger one, though I wondered if different devices would appeal to different ages. (Perhaps dedicated reading devices would appeal to older consumers, and newer, more versatile devices like the Apple iPad might catch on with younger ones.) So what happened? Where are we now, a year later? It’s looking like that trickle down is happening.
Gifts.com recommended eReaders as great gifts for teens last year, and of course the 2010 holiday season saw incredible growth in sales of reading devices and eBooks. This year we’re beginning to get some data on bestselling eBook titles, and some interesting patterns have emerged. One thing that has become evident is that titles aimed at teens are selling extremely well. Books such as Justin Bieber’s autobiography, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series, and the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer have been near the top of the most downloaded lists for OverDrive.
The New York Times began listing eBook bestsellers last week, but their lists so far cover only fiction and nonfiction for adults. They plan to include eBooks for “children” in the future. USA Today, however, publishes a list of the top selling 150 titles ranked by sales regardless of format, genre, or age level, which means that you can really see how titles are selling. USA Today has been covering Kindle sales since July, 2009, but this month, for the first time, the list began including eBook sales from Barnes & Noble and Sony as well. The results are fascinating for several reasons, but let’s just look at youth books for now.
Among the Top 150 are titles in the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, Kristin Cast’s vampire books, and books by self-published author Amanda Hocking, who also writes about vampires. Seven of the top 25 bestselling eBooks this week are books for youth. And 19% of the Top 150 are youth titles, even when you don’t count those aimed at younger children. These figures are even more impressive when you remember that “youth” in the book world covers a very few years in a person’s life, unlike “adult,” which spans decades. And don’t forget that many teens read adult books as well.
Another source of information became available when Bowker’s Kelly Gallagher presented results of a BISG/Bowker poll at the recent Digital Book World conference. This poll asserts that only 5-6% of the YA market is reading eBooks. Hmm, if that’s the case, then that 5 or 6% must be reading a lot of books. Of course, some adult readers cheerfully admit to enjoying youth fiction, so this may affect sales numbers.
A Pew research poll result draws the conclusion that it’s Baby Boomers buying reading devices, not young people. Their poll says that 18 to 34-year-olds own only 5% of eReaders. It’s impossible to draw final conclusions for the youth cohort from these numbers, since they do not include figures for anyone under age 18, but even so, the top cohort, people in their 40s, owned only 7%—not that much more than 5%.
Cost is always a factor for young people, who may not have much cash, but prices for eReaders are dropping, and schools and parents may help teens and children acquire readers in the future. Sales numbers should increase as schools begin folding reading devices into programs such as a project recently described in the American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Services division’s blog. In addition, some schools are trying to solve the problem of excessively heavy book bags by delivering textbooks via eReaders. Another thing that might increase sales is that some parents may like the idea of giving their kid a device that does only one thing…deliver books. That way they’ll know that their child is really reading, and not surfing the Web or playing a game. And some parents may pass down their old readers as they upgrade to newer versions. All in all, indicators seem to point to increasing sales of devices that can be used by youth to read eBooks.
Dedicated devices are not the whole story, of course, since teens can read eBooks on their computers or phones as well, but the New York Times featured a very interesting story recently, with anecdotal evidence that teens and children are taking to eReaders. The article also reports some eye opening statistics. In 2010, young adult books made up 6% of the total digital sales for St. Martin’s Press. So far in 2011, it’s 20%. An executive at Simon and Schuster said that some of their digital titles for young people nearly doubled their sales after Christmas. His take? “Boy, a lot of kids got e-readers for Christmas.”
So, my conclusion: want kids to read more? Buy a reading device, load it up with popular titles, let them show their friends how cool they are, and maybe they’ll take to reading. Oh…and some of the devices are backlit…just the thing for reading under the covers when you’re supposed to be sleeping.
By Megan Greer is a retail project manager for OverDrive.
I’ve been getting a lot of requests for news about the Cruz Reader by Velocity Micro. I can confidently say that the Cruz Reader and Cruz Tablet are both considered compatible and are now listed on the OverDrive Device Resource Center. For this review though, I’m going to focus on the Cruz Reader.
Just like the PanDigital Novel, the Cruz Reader is more of a multifunctional device, not quite a tablet. I think I’m now going to start calling these types of devices ‘crossovers’, because they aren’t a dedicated eBook reader or a tablet (and mostly because multimedia device just seems like a mouthful). Besides being able to download EPUB eBooks and MP3 audiobooks from the library, you can enjoy media you’ve accessed from other websites. Just as with the Galaxy Tab and various smartphones, you have to install the OverDrive app to the device before you download a book.
Velocity Micro, mostly known for their high-end (not to mention expensive) computers, did a pretty decent job designing the Cruz Reader. One thing that makes the Cruz similar to other gadgets like the PanDigital Novel is that it is running an Android OS, 2.0 to be exact. After further investigation it looks to be a version of Android allowing you access to apps through ‘CruzMarket’ not Android Marketplace. What’s nice though is that you can connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi, no 3G network required.
The device feels substantial in your hands and the rubber backing makes it feel pricier than it is. Weighing just under a pound, it is one of the heavier devices I’ve reviewed. After reading a few chapters of Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, I needed to set it in my lap.
The Cruz uses a resistive touch screen which is different from what you have seen on the iPad or iPhone. I have noticed the screen is more responsive when using a stylus instead of the tip of a finger. For the most part it was quick to scroll through the pages of ‘Beautiful Darkness’. The color isn’t quite as sharp as I experienced with the NOOKcolor in December but it is acceptable for browsing the web or watching videos on YouTube. As for reading purposes, keep in mind the screen is backlit just like a tablet. If you prefer traditional E-Ink, this probably isn’t the device for you.
My main beef with the Cruz is that it takes a long time to boot up – almost an obnoxious amount of time. Now to me, an obnoxious amount of time for a gadget to boot up is about a minute. What can I say? I’m impatient and part of the ‘immediate gratification’ generation. Once it’s on, it’s not bad. The OverDrive app loads quickly and the response time of a page turn, as I mentioned before, is pretty good if you remember to use a stylus or your nail. The last negative point is that the storage space is fairly limited at 256 MB but it does come with a 4 GB micro SD card.
The bottom line is that for only $118 the Cruz Reader is an excellent deal. Not only can you enjoy EPUB eBooks and MP3 audiobooks but you can check email, surf the web, listen to music, and watch videos. It’ll give you a lot of bang for your buck if you are interested in a ‘crossover’. Now that I think about it, that word brings cars to mind…
Users can enjoy titles from the Virtual Branch with popular devices. This session covers the basics of getting started … highlighting mobile devices, eBook readers, and MP3 players. This is a great video to learn more about how to use a variety of devices. I encourage you to spend 30 minutes watching this video. It will give you the basic understanding of how to install software and transfer books to the device.
Note: you will need to register to view the tutorial.
On eRead Me Vegas we have added a new section called FAQS, Tips & Tricks. The link is on the left column under Helpful Links. Patrons will find answers to some of the frequent questions we have been receiving along with tips and tricks on using our eMedia Catalog or have discovered about certain ebook readers.
Today, OverDrive provided this ebook-cheat-sheet for Patrons for you to hand out to your patrons. What’s nice – it highlights the iPhone, iTouch and iPad (coming soon) free apps which can be found at the iTune’s App Store. Hopefully, this will help patrons who are making purchasing decisions this holiday season.
OverDrive has updated their list of eBook Readers which work with Library eBooks. They have added the Nook Color and Literati Reader to the list. On December 2, there will be a post on the Librarian’s Brain with the Comparison Chart and How to Buy Guide.
I can help! Attend one of three eBook Reader Workshops offered in November and December and learn which eBook Reader meets your needs. You will also learn how to download eBooks from the Library’s eMedia Catalog for free!
Join us for an informative workshop on one of these dates:
November 3, 2010 – Sahara West Library 10:30am – 11:30am
November 18, 2010 – Centennial Hills Library 10:30am – 11:30am
December 1, 2010 – Summerlin Library 10:30am – 11:30am
PC Pro reviews the new Sony eReader. Below is a few of the highlights of the review:
..big improvement and nearly as good the new Amazon Kindle’s screen!
Sony has hatched a deal with Google to place a custom search of Google books on the Sony website, opening an estimated 500,000 titles up for quick and easy download. Google’s standard book search doesn’t let you filter results in this way, so finding titles you can take away on an eBook has, up until now, been a hit and miss affair.
This sounds really cool as we have the books in the catalog linked to Google Books.
.. and more interesting development, is support for free eBook loans from local authority libraries (Overdrive), a feature the Amazon Kindle doesn’t support.
Has a great side by side comparison picture of the new Sony and the Amazon Kindle.
Read more: Sony’s new eBook readers: first-look review | PC Pro blog http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2010/09/09/sonys-new-ebook-readers-first-look-review/#ixzz0zQWsZujm
Justin the Librarian has done a good review of most of the eReaders available in the blog post Justin the Librarian vs eBook Readers. Be sure to read the comments for additional insights.
Contributor Cindy Orr takes a look at eBook consumers in her monthly post.
Experts say that 2010 will be a transformative year for technology. They’re buzzing about eBooks and eBook readers. Here’s why:
- Sales of eBooks skyrocketed in 2009, up 176.6% from 2008.
- eBook readers are proliferating. Sony Reader was first, but it wasn’t until the Kindle tapped into the huge Amazon customer base that devices became familiar to a wider audience. Now there are many devices.
Early adopters of the Amazon Kindle had a few things in common–they were Amazon customers, could afford the device, were not afraid of technology, and saw how the reader could help them read while commuting or traveling. By and large they knew about no other readers, and were willing to buy all their books from Amazon. But now that the field is growing beyond this original group, where will the trend take us?
Surveys are beginning to give us a picture of the eBook reading community. Here are some things we’ve learned:
- 70% of Kindle owners are older than 40.
- Baby Boomers, the most avid readers, recognize that eBook readers allow them to carry far more reading material and read it more comfortably (increased font sizes, ease of turning pages for arthritic hands).
- eBook reader consumers are very cost conscious.
- This may be one of the few technologies that trickle down from an older generation to a younger one. Older users have adopted eBook readers and Twitter more quickly than the younger generation. eBook use may spread to younger people…or a variation might trickle down. It may turn out, for instance, that older readers will choose single purpose devices like the Sony Reader, and younger people may choose a multi-function device like the Apple iPad. We’ll have to see how that turns out.
But what are the implications for libraries? Here are a few suggestions:
- We should take advantage of the publicity and interest and make sure we have good eBook collections.
- We should shape our collections with older users in mind.
- We need to spread the word that the library has eBooks that can be read at no cost–legally.
- We should make sure our patrons know that eBooks can be read not only on computers, but that they can use the OverDrive system to download and transfer them to many compatible devices, including the Sony Reader and the nook.
- We should help readers understand that eBook readers will let them control text size and may make it easier for some people to hold and read a book.
- We should help them understand that the Kindle is not compatible with their library’s collection but that there are other brands of electronic reading devices that are.
Check out the new ebook readers coming to a store near you soon!
As these readers come out I’ll keep you posted on what works with our content.
Isabel and I will be doing a workshop for ALL patrons (staff are welcome to attend as well) on how to buy an MP3 player or an eBook Reader. This workshop will talk about the type of devices available and which devices will work with the library’s downloadable content. We will be offering the workshop twice at the following locations:
Clark County Library – large conference room – Friday December 11 10am-noon
Centennial Hills Library – conference room – Tuesday December 15 10am-noon
Please let your patrons know about this workshop and we encourage anyone interested in attending to register on the Library’s website on the Senior page – Computer Classes for Seniors. We will be able to accept more than 10 patrons so if the classes fill up tell your patrons not to worry there will be room for them.
In OverDrive (eBook to Go) HarperCollins will no longer be providing their titles in PDF and/or Mobipocket eBooks format. However, they will start providing their titles in the ePUB format. The .epub format will allow ebooks to be read using a wide range of software and eletronic book readers including the iPhone (using the Stanza eBook Reader), the Bookworm online reader and the Sony Readers (PRS-700/505).
An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal was post April 20 by author Steven Johnson who outlines a future with more books, more distractions — and the end of reading alone. Read the article. A side note just in case you or your patrons are looking at buying a Kindle. the author talks about using a Kindle for reading e-books, our ebooks available in the emedia catalog do not work on a Kindle but they do work on a Sony Reader.
Sony has come out with a new ebook reader which gives the experience of holding a paperback book. In a snap shot:
- The Good: Sleek, light and highly portable in a leatherette binder, with excellent storage for a number of books.
- The Bad: A retrograde grey-on-grey display; the price – $299.
- The Verdict: The best e-book reader yet, but it has a way to go before it can match real books.