Will They Take Your Books?

Recently, a Norwegian woman claimed Amazon wiped every book from her Kindle (remotely) and closed her account without a satisfactory explanation.  Amazon has always said they have the right to close user accounts when they feel someone has violated their agreement with the books they’ve purchased.  While many of us have faced similar problems with email or social media accounts after someone tried to access these accounts falsely, Amazon claims they looked into this and have associated her account with another one which had previously been blocked. I’m sure if someone looks into this further and decides her account was closed without merit, all of her books could be reloaded to her Kindle. Simple.  But it brings up some interesting questions about Amazon and the Kindle and the rights they have over eBooks.

After reading this article on the matter, it becomes clear that purchasing electronic books does not give us ownership over those books, only usership…if that’s a word. We can use the books the way we are supposed to (which means, read them), and hopefully not use them in other ways deemed improper.  When you purchase an actual hardcover book, you’re agreeing to the same things, really. You pay the money for the book,which is your agreement to the copyright that you will only read the book and not reproduce the book in any public format (without permission, of course).  Does that mean that no one has ever photocopied pages from a book to use in a presentation or assignment?  Probably not.  But what can booksellers do about that?  They can’t come back to a person who bought a book in their store and demand the book back simply because they heard the person read chapters out loud, for example, in public. Once they sell the book, it is up to the person who purchased it to follow the rules.

So how did Amazon KNOW  this person violated some part of their agreement? It makes me very uncomfortable to think that they are monitoring users through their Kindles somehow. We hear about this all the time with computers. It’s bad enough to think that someone knows your every move online, but to think that someone is keeping track of your reading is somewhat worse, isn’t it? And while the aspect of Amazon being able to upload books to a new Kindle after one is lost or stolen is marvelous, maybe there really should be better safeguards, such as a password, as was stated in the above article.

It’s possible that there’s much more to the story and why this person’s account was closed and her books revoked. In fact, I’m sure of it. But it sure gets you thinking about how something as simple as reading a book could possibly bring about an invasion of our so-called privacy.

What do YOU think?

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Is this the direction we’re heading?

I’ve written about eReaders lately, but with all of the improvements announcing bigger and better eReaders, this might be the direction we’re headed.


Click on the picture above to go directly to the video

Thanks to the people at Landline TV for this great spoof link!

Are you thinking about an eReader?

More and more, we’re hearing from patrons who are getting themselves an eReader.  Whether you choose the popular Kindle, Sony eReader, Kobo or another generic version, there are plenty of options out there and maybe one is right for you.

First, why would you want an eReader?  If you are a techie and like all of the latest gadgets, then this is something you can add to your collection.  eReaders are small, light, portable and if you enjoy reading, they certainly make it easy to take a lot of books with you wherever you go.  If you enjoy reading more than one book at a time ( I usually have several books on the go at once and read depending on my mood), then eReaders can be the thing to solve the problem of having three or four books scattered around the house.  This is especially nice if you want to take books on a holiday.  Now you only have one thing to carry, but a world of books at your fingertips.

Deciding which device is right for you might all come down to price…both the price of the device itself and the cost of books.  Most of the digital books these days cost anywhere from $4.99 and up (with the average book costing about $10 – $14), so it’s the cost of the device that might sway you, depending on what you’d like the reader to do for you.

One of the most popular devices is the Kindle.  The latest version is wireless, allowing you to be able to download books without the aid of a computer!  It is thin, light and delivers books within 60 seconds. It boasts the fact that it will carry 1500 books and a fully charged kindle will last for one week with the wireless connected, two weeks with it off.  You can see more about the Kindle right here. They cost about $189 US brand new and will work in the US or Canada.


The Sony Reader is a little different.  It still has plenty of room for books (holds about 350), has a long battery life and is lightweight.  The nice thing about this Reader is that the screen imitates paper….meaning it is easy on the eyes with a similar look to a book. You can also download multiple formats such as .PDF files so that you can take work on the road with you as well. The other nice thing about eReaders is that you can download newspapers and magazines, with a subscription.  How nice to be on the road but still have access to the things you like to read most! You can see more about the Reader right here. At about $259 US, it can be one of the pricier models.

The Kobo has unique ink technology that allows readers to read their books so that it looks just like paper, also.  The really nice thing about the Kobo is it allows for transfers between other devices (such as a smartphone or computer).  You can read from anywhere and keep bookmarks so that you can go back to your book later. With multiple skins, you can change the Kobo so that it looks the way you want it to.  It is still light and attractive, holds over 1000 books, and  has very few buttons to allow a nice feel when you are holding it. It is even quilted on the back so that it fits in your hand comfortably. It costs about $149 CDN, which is a nice price if you are looking to try out the technology but don’t want the hefty pricetag.

Find out more about the Kobo reader right here. Check out their great comparisons page on the website.  You can view all of the different specs for each device and see which one might be right for you.

Last but not least (I won’t go into the no-name models), is the Nook.

There are two different versions of the Nook, ranging in  price from $149 US to $249 US, depending on how much memory you’d like (more memory means more books that you can store).   The unique things about this reader is that there are tons of books available for free, and the most interesting part is that you can lend a book to a friend for FREE! You can also download magazines and newspapers, as well a read books on your mobile device.  There are designer Nook covers that you can purchase to make your reader look unique and keep it safe.   For more information on the Nook, see their website here.

So, how do you know if an eReader is for you?  If you do a lot of traveling, you might want to consider one.  It’ll take up less space than those hardcovers and paperbacks and you can get new books along the way.  If you do a lot of reading for work, these might be ideal for portable, on the go reading. And if your job entails reading (all of the literary agents and editors out there have them now), this is a must!

We do have access to eBooks at the library, but not a lot of fiction as of yet. Come in and ask us about NetLibrary and get your account set up. If you are interested in non-fiction or academic works, this might be something useful to you.  But until we go a little further into the eBook realm, you’re on your own for a bit.  Enjoy it though…..the experience is unique and the possibilities are endless!

Kindling

Amazon’s Kindle has been so successful that there really hasn’t been much in the competition.  Until now.  How about something even more earth friendly that you can recycle later? Introducing the Kindling!

kindling10Rob Cockerham has an interesting site which he began to post the age-old question “How much is inside?”. On these funny and thought provoking questions, he ponders just exactly “how much is inside” everyday objects, such as a bag of Cheetos, for instance.  Along with that, he also seems to view life a bit differently, and recently decided that someone should come up with a version of the Kindle made completely from wood.  And so he did just that with the help of a friend with a laser burner, his Kindling is a funny replica,  to be used later in your fireplace!  He even has the listing on Ebay, so go ahead and place a bid, if you’re interested.

Listen to a good book

Audio books. E-Books. Talking books. What are they all about? We offer many services at our library for people who want to listen to their books, instead of read them. Audio books are a great way for people who might not be able to see well anymore to catch up on their favourite authors. They are a great way to pass the time on the long drove to work or while working out, so even people who aren’t sight-impaired are enjoying this new medium.

I have to confess that I have listened to many popular books in audio form, and while I have enjoyed them, I do have a few complaints. Generally, I don’t like the author reading their own books. Case in point….Anderson Cooper reading his book “Dispatches from the Edge”, was very much Anderson Cooper….only very, VERY enunciated. I could only get through the first few chapters of his overly exaggerated “t’s” and “s’s” before I had to say, okay, this would be a better book to read. Often actors who are hired to read have a much better sense of timing and sound less like they are reading and more like they are acting, even when they are reading all of the parts in the same voice. The other complaint might be that sometimes there is music, sometimes there isn’t. I find the audio books with a bit of music annoying. They start to sound like old-time radio shows, but without the funny sound effects. I say, leave out the music, have an actor read, and you’ll have a hit.

Many websites are now offering e-books that can be purchased and downloaded to your IPod or other device. All of the major book sellers online have audio versions of their books for sale in easy formats so that you can pop a book onto your mp3 player and listen chapter by chapter. There is even a great new handheld book reading device called the Kindle that was developed by Amazon and is taking the reading world by storm. The Kindle boasts the look and feel of reading real paper on an electronic device. They say this is the new way to read, that we’ll all be loading our Kindles with books in the future. That may be so, but it doesn’t mean libraries will be dead because of that. We’ll just be providing the resources in the future, I have a feeling.

Even now, many libraries are offering e-books that you can download and “borrow” for a set period of time. They can only be copied to one device and expire after a certain time period so that the next person in line can listen. This isn’t a service we offer at the Carleton Place Public Library yet, but who knows what is coming down the road.

There is even a site now that offers aspiring readers to record their own versions of public domain books….books that have a copyright before 1923 that are not still under copyright. And anything can be done with these recordings…they remain public domain. LibriVox offers software that you download in order to be able to record your own voice reading the books they need. It seems like an interesting idea and they have volunteers record chapters of books that they will make available for the public to download online. So, if you’ve ever wanted to be that actor, reciting wonderful poetry or chapters from famous novels in history, you should check out this site and see if it interests you.

Dustin M. Wax has written a very interesting article about e-books and how to enjoy them if you are a first time user.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/a-beginners-guide-to-e-books.html

There is also a controversial new trend for parents to put on an audio book for a child at night, in place of reading a traditional story at bedtime. The children must miss out on the interaction and pictures, as this is what often stimulates imagination and allows for print awareness to help children learn to read. You can read an article about this here.

So, are audio books the wave of the future? Are they just a passing fad? And will they replace books altogether? What do you think?