Taking the eBook Plunge

Posted & filed under Library blog, Technology.

If you’re on the fence about eBooks, it can help to hear from those who’ve already taken the plunge. We recently surveyed library staff members about their reading habits—which, as you can imagine, are quite varied—and gathered the following feedback.

First of all, eBooks are not an all-or-nothing proposition. No one on our staff reads eBooks exclusively…not even the so-called digital natives! The choice between an eBook and a traditional book often comes down to circumstance. Is the waiting list for a popular title longer in print than in My Media Mall? Is that 600-page hardcover causing back strain? Does an airline baggage weight limit mean choosing between another book and another pair of shoes?

Avid readers live in fear of being caught with nothing to read. Quite a few staff members indicated that they gravitate towards eBooks when they find themselves stranded in that fearsome book desert, when “it’s midnight, the library’s not open, and none of my books are making me happy!” The voracious readers among us also appreciate that “you can carry a lot more eBooks with you than physical books,” and switch among them at will.

One devoted eBook reader had this advice for skeptics: “don’t knock it till you try it—and if you try it and hate it, try another device!” Different devices can satisfy different needs, even for a single reader:

  • For commuting or standing in line at the pharmacy, a smartphone may suffice. “[My phone] is easily carried around in my purse,” wrote one staff member. “I normally bring it with me everywhere.”
  • Tablets offer larger screens, color displays, and support for enhancements such as video. These features are particularly well suited to reading digital magazines, graphic novels, or picture books.
  • Dedicated e-readers are lighter, and more faithfully mimic the experience of reading on paper. At home, devices with technology that eliminates glowing screens have one clear advantage: “I can read at night, in bed, and not disturb my husband with the light.”

Most devices also allow users to enlarge text, search for words or names, consult built-in dictionaries, and mark favorite passages with virtual “bookmarks” or “highlighting.”

Still on the fence? We’d love to show you how easy it is to download eBooks for free from the library’s ever-growing collection! Use our online calendar to register for an ebook help session on January 16 or February 23. You can also set up a one-on-one appointment with a librarian by emailing digitalservices@lincolnwoodlibrary.org or calling us at (847) 677-5277.