Ebook lending libraries : The future of fiction

Posted by admin on Feb 9, 2010 in books, geekery, news

ebook library of future

Forget thumbing through novels filled with indescribable stains, the library of the future will provide you with germ free digital copies that can be easily read on your e-reader. The library of the future does away with fines and books that smell of toilets and trauma, instead you’ll have pristine digital versions that time out after 30 days. Whether you’re reading these novels on your iPad or your Nook, it doesn’t matter, as the future of eBooks is all about the software and less about the hardware. Sure, you need a screen of suitable size to peruse your novel on, but once you’ve made your initial purchase you’re sorted.

Once books are fully digitized and able to be rented online from public libraries we’ll know the era of the eBook has truly landed. We’re pretty close already, as so far there are three libraries in the UK that run a virtual lending scheme- Luton, Essex and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead with more scheduled to follow suit.

These schemes are by no means perfect as they have a limited selection of books on offer and the search functions could be majorly improved, but compared to sites which only offer free eBooks (those that are out of copyright) these sites are hugely progressive, as are the counties that have funded them.

Lending libraries mainly work by using a system called Overdrive, which has already been very popular in the USA. Perhaps it’s no surprise that eBook libraries are well established there as they have had eReaders for a significantly longer timer than us, with the major player in their market being the Kindle. The Overdrive system allows you to virtually check out books which you can then read on various devices till they ‘time out’, and then you can renew them. The limited selection of authors may have something to do with royalties, but a quick browse was reasonably impressive, with the latest releases from James Patterson, Meg Cabot, and um, Fern Britton on offer. Read more…

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The Top Six New eReaders you’ll be coveting in 2010

Posted by admin on Jan 18, 2010 in books, technology

Ebooks are big in 2010, the best ones to choose

It’s no secret that I’m a hardcore eBook fan, which probably has something to do with the fact that I speed read almost as fast as I talk. The variety of platforms to read eBooks on is expanding faster than ever as many companies are embracing the trend and we’re seeing a wide range of devices enter the market. The recent Consumer Electronic Show 2010 in Las Vegas had a large section dedicated primarily to eBooks and eReaders and I’ve rounded up the best of the bunch. They’re due out later this year, and will hopefully be (relatively) affordable.

The EnTourage eDGe

This device breaks new ground for the eBook market as it features a dual screen. The idea is that you use eInk on the left hand side to browse through books comfortably (eInk doesn’t cause the eyestrain that LCD does) and the other side to choose books and browse the web. The eReader part features a 9.7 inch screen and the LCD screen is 10.1 inches. I guess you don’t notice the difference when you close it, otherwise that would be quite ungainly. The eInk screen also lets you annotate books and write comments, and this will then be saved as a separate word document which lets you email it to peruse at your leisure.

The eDGe is compatible with ePub and PDF files, but they don’t currently mention any others which is a shame as it suggest JPEGs, DOCs and LIT files are all excluded. Though the eInk screen doesn’t show JPEG’s , they are displayed on the colour screen which might be a little confusing.

The colour touchscreen side is essentially a tablet style netbook, as you can browse the web, type emails and order more eBooks. You do this by opening a virtual keyboard and either using the stylus or your hand to type. MP3 files can be played so it can double up as a music player (nice for audio books perhaps) and there’s a video recorder included which is a little bizarre (hey- here’s a snap of me reading.. again) but a nice extra touch. The colour screen works by using my beloved Android OS (operating system) so you’ll be able to access a wealth of apps for the device. Is this really necessary for an eBook.? No, it’s taking eReaders away from their main purpose and making them a hybrid tablet mashup. Still, it’s innovative- if only the price wasn’t so high!

Currently $490 from Entourage (£300!)

Read more…

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