Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bravo for eBooks!

I think eBooks are wonderful! I have 'listened my way to work and back', and on trips for years. As a Children's librarian, it gives me a great way to utilize my travel time and keep up with my reader's advisory skills. Having books read to me is a great treat, considering that I read books all day long to children.

But the applications for the blind or vision-impaired people would be phenomenal! What a boon to have books read to you at your own convenience, and not have to wait for a volunteer to get the time to do that, would be very gratifying. And, finding enough books printed in Braille would be difficult as well, so the eBooks would be just an added bonus to their lives. Using the Overdrive Digital Library Media Resource, someone else could download books for them, and they would never have to worry about paying a late fee. These special patrons could listen at their own pace and not be pressured into hurrying to return or renew it.

Students who are good at multi-tasking would also be able to benefit by it, not to mention the elderly who often need large-print books, would love this electronic way of indulging in a good book. At times, someone may just want to listen to all the classics they read (or even missed reading) as a child or young person.

I believe this medium is a fabulous invention for so many people. It is a very popular way for anyone to listen to an audio-book. The human readers often are excellent actors, i.e. Jim Dale--the reader of the Harry Potter series, acts (in audio) all his roles with different accents. He is a very accomplished actor who fascinates he audiences with his brilliant multi-talented mastery of each voice. I have truly enjoyed listening to him!

Netlibrary, offered by the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, is taking its place in the forefront of today's market. They offer eBooks online, but they must be checked out just as any other book. Their checkout time is 21 days, after which time they may be renewed if necessary. In order for some of the 'written word' to survive our fast-paced lifestyle, books may have to be like children (only in reverse)--heard, and not seen.

Bravo for Project Gutenberg in its very generous endeavor to bring free eBooks to the entire world. What an undertaking, but one that patrons are highly supporting! I believe that with world-wide Internet patronage, this could be the most creative way for eBooks to soar! (Over 100,000 and climbing!)

World eBook Fair has the same general idea, however, it does charge a nominal fee of $8.95 per year. Hopefully, much of the profit from this will be directed toward the purchase of building a more extensive eBook collection.

I would like to see more people learn of and begin using eBooks. I feel that this is one area that librarians can promote to our patrons the awareness of this relatively new method of "reading" books.

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