Books in the Electronic Library

In April of 2012 I attended a book lecture given by Nicholas Carr at the Newberry Library in Chicago, IL, and I most recently took an online course through the American Library Association about eBooks. I love eBooks and the availability of up to date information in our electronic databases at work. Of course, so many are hesitating to introduce eBooks as a possible source for our students. If I find a book as an eBook I immediately let the student know it is accessible via the library’s electronic databases. I think many of the librarians I know assume students want print books because of their own attachment to the printed book. I worked in a rare book library and never was fascinated about the physical state of the book.

During Carr’s lecture he mentioned how ereaders make their books look like the printed version. He gave the example of the Gutenberg bible because it looked like it was typed by scribes. Sellers are assuming consumers want books to look like the printed form. Of course, many eBooks are taking on a new form, and are becoming more interactive. For example, Alice for iPad, which was an interactive version of Alice in Wonderland. When I saw this book I thought it was fun for children, but possibly dizzying for some people.

Publishers, authors, and others are coming up with ways to transform the book for the ever approaching electronic library, but librarians are not involved in the discussion in a way that will positively affect the communities we serve. It brings me back to Chapter 4 in Library 2.0 when you consider creating teams of people in different phases of the process to implement change. As librarians we can play an integral part in the changes that are happening with the book. A discussion has to take place between librarians, authors, and publishers. I am not exactly sure how this is happening or how it will happen.

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