eReaders. How We Love to Hate Them.

Don’t get me wrong, most of the staff at our library use electronic devices to access eBooks and audiobooks from the OverDrive site, and we’ll rave about it to anyone who will listen. But do we love dedicated eReaders? Not really. And as it turns out, only a small portion of people who use them actually like them.

ereaderWhen eReaders first came on the scene, it was predominantly an Amazon market. The Kindle was the only eReader for many people, and because they were expensive, and only allowed people to read books that they purchased, only a select few were instantly in love.

Then came an explosion of eReaders put out by a variety of companies. These allowed you to access books from other places besides Amazon, and *cue the trumpets*, you could now also download FREE eBooks from your library! WOW!  We were overwhelmed by people purchasing eReaders for themselves and their families (mostly for elderly parents who might not be able to get to the library as easily as others), and it was decidedly frustrating for us in the library. The eReaders were not simple to use, not if you wanted to download free books from the OverDrive website. Everyone had different devices, different computers and different problems. We could spend hours with a patron trying to get them set up, only to face the probability that they’d be back in a few weeks, still not sure how to do the entire process on their own. It was especially difficult that first year as many people bought eReaders for their parents at Christmas, and then left them with the instructions to “go to the library to have it set up”. For many of these people, computers were difficult enough to use, and to add a device was more than frustrating. I think we had a lot of disappointed patrons that winter.

Now, after several years, there are more devices on the market, and fewer problems. How is that possible? Apps, my friend……APPS.

People who want to enjoy eBooks and audiobooks are no longer forced to buy a device that only allows them to read books on it. Now, phones, tablets and many of the eReaders themselves have wi-fi and use apps so that users can read books, surf the net, text, check Facebook, take photos for Instagram and tweet….all while they listen to a book or download their next ten books for their vacation. They are multi-purpose devices, and that’s exactly the way eReading needed to go.  They are much easier to use, have a simple set-up for OverDrive, and people can usually download a book and be on their way in minutes, rather than have an extensive session at the library to get them going. We love them….and still loathe them, all at the same time.

Kindles, while still one of the most popular devices on the market, are not compatible with OverDrive in Canada. Well, not most of the Kindles, anyway. (The Kindle Fire is more of a tablet which does use apps, and therefore, allows you to access OverDrive.) This is sad news for people who have done research and found the product that seems to have the most positive reviews will not work for them if they want free eBooks and audiobooks. In the US, library patrons can access OverDrive ebooks through their libraries due to a program used to allow them to be compatible, but so far, it hasn’t crossed the border. Are there bigger issues that aren’t being addressed?  I’m not sure, but I guess we’ll deal with that when the time comes.

Now, though, Kindle has put out a new device that they are saying is BETTER THAN BOOKS.  Better than books????? What? The Kindle Voyage claims to be so good, you’ll forget you’re reading on an electronic device. The “paper” is so realistic, it is easy on your eyes, and in your hands, and will certainly make you a convert. But what’s so special? Have you ever read an enormous book with multiple characters that are difficult to keep track of? The Kindle Voyage has a simple pop up that will display the characters to remind you, let you tap a word to look it up in the dictionary, allow you to flip to footnotes and back easily, and also uses new technology that puts turning the pages right under where your fingers naturally rest when holding the device. No more swiping.

I’m sure it’s wonderful. I’m sure it will revolutionize reading for many people. How could it not? Who wouldn’t want to be able to carry around thousands of books in the palm of your hand? Who wouldn’t want to be able to download the newest best-seller from their favourite author the second it comes out on the market? eBooks and eReaders are truly wonderful for that. And Kindles aren’t the only devices that will do this.

But will the frustrations from not being able to access books from your library, or having to re-charge your device simply to finish that book, or losing your entire collection when you drop your device on a hard floor (or in the bathtub), override the old hardcover? Probably not. We love eBooks and audiobooks and all that they provide to us. We just don’t always love the downsides that come with the devices.

How about you? Let us know…do you prefer eBooks over the real deal? Do you mix it up?

 

March 2015 at the Library

Photo by Danist Soh, courtesy of UNSPLASHMarch is here and whether it comes in like a lamb or a lion, we have plenty of great things going on at the library. After the cold stretch in February,  please remember that the library is a warm spot to visit, especially if you are in need of some shelter. We’re open Monday to Thursday 1:30 – 8pm, Friday from 9:30 – 5:30pm, and Saturdays from 10am until 5pm. Drop by during those hours and find a cozy spot to sit. We’d love to see you here!

If you’re looking for things to do this month, we have lots going on. We’re well into our new Toddler Time sessions on Thursday mornings at 10am, and we also run a regular storytime on Wednesday mornings, either 9:30am or 10:15am. Please call the library for more information and to register.

Forest of Reading continues this month, and our young readers are really racing through their books!  We have several readers who have completed their category, and have moved on to another. Who will read 30 books this time? It’s up for grabs!

Of course, the BIG thing happening this month is March Break, which takes place from March 16 – 20. We’ll have all kinds of fun events for the little ones, school age, teen and even a few things for adults! Please see our earlier post for the complete schedule, or drop by the library to pick one up. We’re going to be busy!

As usual, we’ll be having our monthly Craft Club meeting on Monday, March 16th from 6-7:30pm. This is a great session for adults who like to knit, crochet, or do any number of crafts. Bring along your work, and plan on meeting up with new people who also like to craft. Refreshments provided!

Have you taken advantage of our Ancestry Database training? If you haven’t, there are still slots available for anyone who wishes to know a little bit more about how to use the service and start researching your family tree. These are one-on-one sessions, and you do need to have some computer skills in order to get started. Call us to make an appointment!

To finish up this month, we’re getting ready to write books again in April. Join us on Tuesday, March 31st for the Camp NaNoWriMo Kick-Off Party!  We’ll talk about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), discuss our plans for the month of April, and give writers a few pointers to begin writing. If you’ve been taking part in our sessions which began last year, this is a fun event, and one that gets our creative juices flowing. If you haven’t been writing, but think you might have a novel in you, join us from 6-7pm to find out how we can help you write that novel in April.

We hope to see you this month. Happy March!

Voice Choice

Tonight, we’re offering up a fun writing workshop at the library, geared toward beginning or early writers, and those who might just want a bit of a boost to their writing. We’re covering the scary concept of “voice” tonight from 6-8pm, in our “VOICE CHOICE” workshop.

Voice Choice workshopNo registration is required, but this is geared toward mature writers, not children. Bring along a piece of your writing if you want some advice….we might have time at the end for a bit of a critique/help session.

Call us at 257-2702 for more information!

Hey, Teens! Are You Out There?

We’re hoping to have some teens sign up for our Teen Book Club beginning this week. So far, the response has been rather weak, but maybe you know a teen or two who might like to attend? We’ll be talking about great teen books, selecting some choices to read over the next few months, and probably eating some snacks. Okay, we definitely will be eating some snacks!

Teen posterWe’re looking at meeting once a month, on the last Wednesday from 4-5:30pm. It’s open to ages 12 and up, so the books will be of interest to everyone involved. If you can’t make it this month, drop by the library or give us a call to see what book we’re reading.

Did I mention we’ll have SNACKS???

Do You Use Bitcoin?

index.aspxRecently, I heard of a new online scam where someone was frozen out of all their accounts (Facebook etc.,), and sent an email asking for ransom. But it wasn’t money the crooks wanted…it was Bitcoins. The woman was instructed to purchase a large amount of bitcoins, and deposit them into a special online account by a certain time in order to gain access to her accounts again. And if she failed to meet the deadline, the cost would increase.

Before going that route, the woman tried everything she knew…a computer whiz to unlock her sites, the advice of her daughter who was more versed in technology than she was, and even pleading emails to the people who sent them…all to no avail.  She then proceeded to figure out how to purchase some bitcoins in hopes of getting her accounts freed up, only to find there was a glitch when she purchased them, and missed the “deadline” imposed by the people doing the blackmail. The ransom was then raised to another, much higher amount. At this point, she went to the police, I believe. Did she ever gain access back to her accounts? Probably not, which is the outcome of many online scams, unfortunately.

If you don’t know what bitcoins are all about, they’re the latest online currency, originally created to provide a safe way for people to purchase anything online…and in store. They’re an alternative to using PayPal, which also acts as an in-between account manager. You never have to worry about a company or person seeing your account information (and therefore, leaving yourself open to attack). But Bitcoin is not without problems, as rumors swirl online about it everyday.

If you’re interested in reading more about the state of cybercurrency and how it might (or might not) apply to you, we have a great new book in the library called THE AGE OF CRYPTOCURRENCY : HOW BITCOIN AND CYBERMONEY ARE OVERTURNING THE WORLD ECONOMIC ORDER by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey. I don’t think you need to be afraid of purchasing online, or of getting locked out of all your accounts, but it certainly puts a new spin on how we use the internet and how we try to keep our money safe.

Black History Month

We have class visits from local schools during the week, and recently, one of the classes was studying important figures for Black History Month. While I had books on people like Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman, there was a definite gap in fiction to put out. Books written by African American authors, and books that represent young people of colour are something that should be easily found on the shelves.  Books like:

brownBROWN GIRL DREAMING, a National Book Award Winner in 2014 by Jacqueline Woodson, is middle grade fiction, telling the story of Woodson’s life, in verse.

pointePOINTE by Brandy Colbert was named Best Book of the Year in 2014 by many of the larger magazines and book reviewers. It’s got the ballet world to draw from, but also contains secrets and the darker side of life, perfect for those YA readers who are looking for something a bit gritty and true to life.

chaosTHE CHAOS by Nalo Hopkinson is the story of Scotch, a sixteen-year-old who feels like she doesn’t fit into any category…even more so when her skin becomes covered with a black, sticky substance she can’t remove. Fans of fantasy will enjoy this YA read.

Most of these books and more are available to download as eBooks through OverDrive, using your library card and PIN. Drop by the library today if you need help logging in, or choosing a great selection to celebrate Black History Month!

Tim Burton and Miss Peregrine

When Ransom Riggs YA novel, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN first came out, it was the cover that caught my eye first. Nevermind that it sounded particularly scary, and had a title that couldn’t be ignored. But that cover! Why is it so creepy?

peregrineAnd now, Hollywood’s most interesting director, Tim Burton, is going to bring his inimitable flair to MISS PEREGRINE in the big screen adaptation of the novel. This is sure to be a very wild combination, and I can’t wait to see the movie, which is slated for release in March of 2016.  So far, casting includes Eva Green, and recently, Samuel L. Jackson has been in talks to participate as well.

If you don’t follow Ransom Riggs on Facebook, Instagram or his website, you might not know that he is the husband of fellow YA author extraordinaire Tahereh Mafi, creator of the SHATTER ME series. They are so cute together, often posing for photos on one of their many far-off trips (they went to Iceland recently), and even make short films together, which you can find on Riggs’ site.

The big question: will the movie be in black and white?