Ebook reading devices in libraries

Thoughts:

Comparing Kindles and Nooks with books is natural because, on the surface, Kindles and Nooks seem to function like books. However, Nooks and Kindles come with enough memory to hold approximately 1,500 books. Devices holding 1,500 print books are called bookshelves. So in addition to comparing ebook reading devices with books, Kindles and Nooks should also be compared with bookshelves. One comparison is price.

  • Nook and Kindle capable of holding 1,500 books: $260.
  • Cheap bookshelves capable of holding 1,500 books: ~$1,200 (8 $150 bookcases of six shelves with 30 books on a shelf.)

Adding an $80 ScanDisk 16GB microSD high capacity flash drive card increases Nooks’ capacity to 17,000 books. Devices holding 17,000 print books are called libraries. The Minneapolis (Kansas) Public Library claimed in their 2008 statistical report to have 17,176 print materials.

  • Nook capable of holding 17,000 books: $340
  • 2008 total operating expenditures of the Minneapolis (Kansas) Public Library: $55,494

Questions:

  • If some school administrators wonder why school libraries are necessary because “everything is on the Web,” will future city council members who never come into your library wonder why your public library is necessary when everyone has thousands of books on their Kindles, Nooks and IPads? If yes, what would you say to them?
  • In addition to price, what other comparisons should be made between Kindles and Nooks and bookshelves and libraries? E.G., ease of browsing? Ease of selecting?
  • Should libraries be lending Kindles and Nooks, just content for these devices, or both devices and content? Or none of these things?

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