When I first bought my Kindle about 18 months ago, it was kind of a pain in the neck to use. Amazon offered a pretty limited selection of titles for purchase that didn’t quite suit my nerdy tastes, and I couldn’t buy titles from anyone else because they wouldn’t be compatible with my Kindle. Which was actually OK by me, because they didn’t have anything I wanted to read either.
Eventually I ended up settling for a copy of War & Peace, translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky, for three reasons: a) it was available, b) I actually wanted to read it, and c) it seemed like a pretty awesome alternative to carrying around 4 pounds of book (no joke!). I also experimented with converting several of Project Gutenberg‘s public domain .epub titles to Amazon’s proprietary .azw filetype using some free software that I downloaded from the Internet, but the outcome was fairly hideous. So really I had spent $375 for War & Peace.
But soon things started to get interesting. Continue reading
This Friday I got to demonstrate some features of my Kindle 2.0 to a group of about 20 staff at my library. We’re getting ready to go the e-book route, which I think is very exciting. I feel so grateful that my library is willing to embrace and explore new technologies — we circulate video game systems, laptops, flip cameras, and our reference services entail chatting, texting, blogging and technology instruction. . .
Anyway, I’m getting distracted from what I REALLY wanted to tell you about, which is libraries and e-Books. It looks like my library is going to end up going with Sony e-Readers, because we already use the Overdrive service for audiobooks, and Overdrive just partnered up with Sony to offer content for their e-Readers earlier this summer. This makes me sad for entirely selfish reasons, because I use a Kindle — but that’s just the way it goes in the format wars. And it does really bug me that the Kindle is so proprietary and DRM-y — but all the better to hack, my dear! (And lest we forget — Sony is not exactly exempt from the evils of DRM, either. Remember that fiasco?)
Yesterday was the Iowa Library Association’s Support Staff Spring Conference: Technology Petting Zoo. And I just have to say, I met some of the most awesome, forward-thinking, teched-out librarians in the state of Iowa, seriously. About 40 librarians from around the state showed up, from their mid-twenties to their mid-sixties, and we had such a blast playing with Kindle, iPod Touch, Facebook, Smart Boards, digital cameras. . . &c! After downing some yummy pecan sticky buns and cups of coffee (sorely needed after waking up at 6:30 am for the hour-long drive), we split up into 4 small groups and rotated around the room for 75 minute sessions with each of the 4 presenters. So I guess I’ll just give you a little run-down on each presenter and what she or he brought for us to play with.
I’m pretty excited about the Iowa Library Association Support Staff Conference coming up on Friday, May 15. They’re calling it the Technology Petting Zoo (isn’t that such a great name?!) and it looks like we’re going to get lots of fun hands-on experience with all kinds of tech toys — Kindles, iPhones, RSS feeds, GPS, etc, etc… Check back here after the 15th for some photos and a run-down of the day’s events!