Libraries lead the e-book revolution

From the article:

Have you read an e-book yet? Do you think it means the end of bookshops and libraries as we know them? Will book people have to turn into e-book people to meet the brave new world? It's all a bit early to say.

I haven't read an e-book and when asked by borrowers if I feel that my profession of librarian is under threat, I ask them if they themselves have used an e-book . No, is the consistent reply. But they know chapter and verse about the developments, usually from what they have seen on the internet. The new slimline gadgets can display everything a text maniac wants to get their hands on. Or so it seems.


I imagine that the e-book and the book will thrive together. The real question is usability. Will people quite simply prefer one over the other? If everyone goes mad over the e-book then it will place publishers in a very interesting situation. It is in the lap of the gods and, like the laptop before it, the gods are fickle. The ancient technology of the codex book succeeded because it was practical and pleasurable.

I will still be reading the print perfect, easy-to-manage, hard bound book when it is no longer fashionable or profitable to do so. But I also know that when it comes to one of my favourite pastimes, browsing the entries in Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, it is more comfortable to do so on a compact plastic screen than it is to lug the leatherbound volume (40 cm folio) onto my peak-hour express train.

I'm going to have to disagree with the author. I don't think libraries can lead a revolution. In order to lead, one must create something new. Libraries generally don't create new materials; their job is to document and preserve the past.

About Nate Hoffelder (11219 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

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