Tuesday, November 30, 2010

eReaders: An A-Z List of Things to Consider When Comparing Print to Digital Reading

  • Accessibility
  • Break-ability
  • Convenience
  • Durability
  • Eco-friendliness
  • Focus, impact on
  • Glare & back-lighting
  • Hearing text
  • Instant purchasing
  • Jacket privacy
  • Kinetic experience
  • Learning tools
  • Multimedia delivery
  • Note-taking & highlighting functions
  • Open-source compatibility
  • Portability
  • Quality
  • Recycle-ability
  • Search-ability
  • Transferability
  • Updatability
  • View-ability
  • Weight
  • X-pense
  • Yoke-like eBook retailer behavior
  • Zoom factor
This emerged from a presentation I was working on for our district's technology council meeting on November 30th, 2010. I was assigned a couple of readings - one about eReaders and one about netbooks. I'd been following the eBook cyberconvo closely. Our library was awarded a cash prize last year, and I was considering spending the money on eReaders and eBooks until I surveyed my students. I was underwhelmed by their responses. They just didn't really seem to care much about eReaders, and aside from one request for a water slide in the library, their justification for not wanting them was pretty compelling.

So, I'd been pondering all this when I came across these two articles today - the one about the eReader, and the one about the netbooks - and I thought, "What if I bought netbooks and used them as eReaders among other things?" Right? Not bad, eh? That way, kids get their extra computing power (that's what they wanted), I get my eReaders, they are cheap, the iPad theft temptation becomes a non-issue. All the proprietary concerns with specific vendor devices disappears. The problem is that our netbooks are really really really slow. Did I mention that they are slow? Yeah. That. So this article about open source operating systems really intrigued me, and I asked around. Popular belief it that our netbooks would run a lot faster with Ubuntu. So I tried it. Sure enough, without complex operating systems and software applications, they are pretty zippy. Great, right? Problem solved. Only there is no Kindle app for Linux. Ugh. So if I bought eBooks on Amazon, they can't be read on the Ubuntu netbooks. Back to square one.

But wait. This really bugs me too! Why is Amazon so library unfriendly? Why aren't ALL k-12 textbook publishers offering digital books? Why can't I read my other 742 eBooks (Gale, ABC-CLIO and Follett) on a Kindle? Why is this taking so long??? We all want this, right? Don't we? Is the tail wagging the dog?

That's it. I'm out of time. I'd try to wind this baby down gracefully, but it's late, and I'm tired, and Pandora is playing a dreadful tune. That's my rant for today. Please comment.


  1. Are Google eBooks a solution? I wrote about the recently released option here http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2010/12/google-helps-books-grown-digital-wings.html

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