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?)
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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.
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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!