Who is Smik?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Rate of change in the e-reading world

I'm building up to some e-book presentations in the next few weeks and beginning to assemble my thoughts.

I wrote an article on e-readers for teacher librarians and cataloguers which was published at the end of the year.

I began

2010 will be seen as the year of the advent of the e-book and the e-book reader. Toward the end of the year teachers and libraries worldwide, and in Australia, had begun pooling their experiences with the new devices, trying to wrap their heads around how e-books could be used in schools, and libraries in particular. The opportunities are enormous, but so are the challenges.

E-books and e-readers have become a topic of special interest to me, and it became obvious from responses to articles that I wrote, presentations that I delivered, and webinars and forums that I participated in, that it is of great interest to others as well.

I suspect that by the end of 2011 we may well have solved some of the challenges, and e-book use will be well-entrenched in our schools and our libraries. We may have to resign ourselves to the insolubility of the other challenges at least for the moment.

So now I'm trying to analyse what progress we've made since I wrote the article. One of the things I'm conscious of is that in a sense nothing has changed, and yet at the same time the rate of change has been huge.
I think by "nothing has changed" I mean that the overall issues are still there, particularly if you are talking about libraries lending e-books and schools issuing e-text books. The barriers still exist as do the management problems. If you have money, then there are solutions within reach, but they may not take you down the path you wanted to travel on.

On the other hand if you are talking about e-readers themselves then the rate of change is enormous. I have a Kindle2 and already Kindle3 has had an upgrade and my Kindle2 is obsolete, if you are talking in terms of the "improvements".
Mind you, a number of the improvements, as far as I can judge, have been cosmetic, and my Kindle2 still does what it always did, provides the service it always has. It seems a pity that Amazon has no intention now of upgrading the functionality of my Kindle2.

I'll witter on a bit more tomorrow...

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