Aha! Publishers respond to changing trends. But when will we see files borrowed from libraries?

The UK branch of Dorling Kindersley presented this at a sales conference, but decided to release it publicly after the response they received internally. They commissioned Khaki films to produce it and you can read about the process on the Penguin Blog (USA).

I see young people at my school continuing to read voraciously. Not all of them obviously, but we do have readers who go through five or more novels a week. One of our challenges is to keep the new fiction up to their requirements! We have three Kindles, and will begin lending them out for a week at a time next term. We’ve decided to not invest in more of them and are awaiting the release of the iPad to see how that looks. But really, the reader device is not our big issue. I don’t see us purchasing these devices in bulk and borrowing them out. I see our clientele having a device (their own computers can fulfill this purpose!) and we as a library lending out a file.

Our big issue is, how is the publishing industry going to respond to the rollout of a device like the iPad, and how will we as Libraries be involved? My personal opinion is that I think the iPad is going to be the start of the revolution that will see an ereader device have a major impact on the way people read. But the tricky question for libraries will be, how do we become a part of that revolution??

Unless I’ve missed something somewhere, I’m not seeing this essential question being answered in the networks I inhabit or by the publishing industry. I did discuss it with the developer of the library system we have just moved to, and he was talking about having the ability to encrypt files so that they could be transferred to a device, but they would only remain on the device for a two week period. When that time was up, they would once again appear as a file available for borrowing. Now that made sense to me; in fact, it was the first time someone had presented an idea that I thought was even feasible.

The same issue relates to audiobooks. One of our students had a wonderful conversation with me last week about the great things she can access on iTunes. She’s not an able reader, and her mother had suggested she download the audio version of the text they are studying at Year 10 to her iPhone. She has been listening to it on the bus on the way to school and was telling me how she was now able to understand and contribute to class discussion. This was just wonderful; I was so thrilled for her because I know she struggles with English classes. She suggested that we download the book and share it with students. I had to explain to her that we would have to ensure that we loaned it out as a file, but only one student at a time could access it because of copyright considerations. Now, how do we go about doing just that? How do we ensure that the file we loan isn’t copied and transferred to someone else? How do we enable producers of content to receive their rightful royalties for the work they have produced?

Are there answers out there to these questions? If there are, point me in the right direction, because I want to make my library relevant to the kids we teach. I want to see them able to borrow files like these and not have to fork out money to pay for everything they want to read on an ereader or listen to on an iPod or other MP3 device. I want my library to fulfill the function libraries have been performing for the last century or so; ensuring access to information.

The way information is accessible is changing; the way Libraries lend content will change with these new ways of receiving information. Let’s work out how we’re going to go about doing it.

School’s out Friday

Busy day here for me. I’m in Philadelphia and about to go and sign up for Educon, the real purpose of my visit to the United States. Then it’s off to do a bit of sightseeing before things kick off tonight.

Thought you might be interested in this review of the iPad, Apple’s new offering, that I think is going to blow the Kindle and other ebook readers out of the market. I may be wrong, but the touch screen, and the fact that it offers so many more features, the best of which is internet browsing enabling you to leap from your newspaper to other links, seems to me to be reason enough to purchase an iPad as opposed to a Kindle.

I’m so tired right now. Think all of this traveling is catching up with me! I’ll have to find some reserves of energy so that I can keep up with the discussions taking place this weekend. I’ll keep you posted.

Enjoy your weekend. If you’re in Australia, enjoy the warm weather. Philadelphia is freezing!!

Guess whose Library has a Kindle!

If you guessed the one I work in, you’re right! Today we accepted delivery of three Amazon Kindles much to our delight. We are very interested in the possibilities presented by the introduction of ebook readers and thought we should try out the new technology to see how we think it may impact on Libraries and the way they deliver their services.

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So far we’ve downloaded a couple of books (with incredible ease!), figured out how to change the font and listened to the speech function that reads the text for you. I took one home and sat in my backyard in direct sunlight. I’m pleased to say all of the reports are true; the screen is easily readable even in those conditions. Clear and no reflective glare. I’m sorry to say that my husband seems to have deleted the new Malcolm Gladwell book I was intending to read in bed tonight. I don’t suppose they will reinstate the book to the Kindle considering it was a mistake??

My elderly mother was over and she was very taken with it. This is the generation who you might think would reject the idea. Not this septuagenarian! She’d love to get her hands on one.  Mum loved the lightweight nature of it and the fact that the font size is so easy to enlarge. The price of downloads is pretty impressive too and would have a lot of appeal for the pensioner set (that’s if they could afford the purchase price in the first place).

In the picture above you’ll notice we purchased a skin for the Kindle. It’s lovely; just adds to its appeal and I didn’t find it a distraction while reading. I was able to immerse myself in the new Malcolm Gladwell; all the more disappointing that it’s disappeared!

Would we go the way of Cushing Academy in Boston?? They’ve begun the process of deleting their print book collection and have purchased 65 Kindles to loan out to students. I don’t think so,  given that Amazon have the Kindle as their product and not every book is available from the Amazon store. Maybe the proposed Apple Tablet will tie up the market? Once ebooks become tied into the itunes (or ibooks?) library I could see possibilities opening up. All speculation right now; the next 12 months will prove very interesting indeed.

Right, off to bed now to see how it compares with the original. Lightweight and can be held with one hand. Think I’m hooked already!

 

Yes, we deleted the VHS collection.

Discussion in my office last week.

“Jenny, did I hear you correctly when you said that you had deleted the entire VHS collection? ”

“Yes, you did.”

“Does this mean that the Maria Callas version of Medea isn’t there?”

“Yep, that’s right. It’s gone.”

“Oh dear. You know it’s just what I need for the students……….”

“How about we take a look at YouTube and see what’s there?”

“I’ve never used YouTube. Do you think it might be there?”

So we took a look. And guess what? It’s there. Uploaded in 10 minute parts. Perfect for this teacher who only needed a 10 minute segment that spanned part one and two. Even though YouTube streams really fast at my school I downloaded these parts to ensure that the teacher would have no trouble when using it in class this week.  Result: Happy teacher who now can see the positive use of YouTube for instructional purposes. 

Deleting the VHS collection has been the cause of some angst for members of staff, but the final nail in the VHS coffin had to be hammered in. You can’t sustain a dead technology. VHS players aren’t available anymore and we can’t keep pretending we can rely on old resources. I know some of them were good and probably worth keeping, but we’re just going to have to try and source them via other means. Conversion is a time consuming labour intensive exercise and I could not justify the work involved to facilitate this. YouTube and TeacherTube are amazing; the content that is there is pretty mind boggling really.  Australian Screen and resources available from The Learning Federation are other fabulous source points for video that teachers could be using with their classes.

Don’t get me wrong. VHS tapes still lurk in offices around the school. But they are not in the library and not part of our catalogued resources. They’ll die a natural death when the players that support them curl up and die.

We’re at that point in Libraries where decisions need to be made about what stays and what goes. Non fiction purchasing is the other area where we as a library staff have questioned purchases. We are waiting to see what happens in the e book market and how the handling of that is going to equate with Library delivery of services. There are huge question marks around all of that right now and I don’t think I’ve seen anyone with an answer just yet. It’s been announced that the Amazon Kindle will be available internationally in the near future. Right now, my money’s on the predicted Apple tablet as being the frontrunner to take the lead with e book delivery. It seems only natural to integrate the book publishing market with their iTunes library.  

Interesting times and huge ideas for Libraries to grapple with. It is hard trying to predict where things are going and what the best course of action is to take. What is clear to me is that you can’t sit on the fence forever. At some point tough decisons need to be made, even if it does cause some angst.  

You know, I’ve been thinking. I think all teachers should be provided with a copy of Who moved my cheese?” and it should become mandatory reading. If you haven’t read it, get to your local library and check out a copy. Well worth it.