E-Reader Books are on Their Way to Oakdale Branch Library
Library director says e-books won't replace paper books.
With the proliferation of e-readers and tablet computers on the market, the way people read books is rapidly changing.
The Washington County Library system is working to keep up, with plans to start loaning books that can be viewed on most e-readers (except Kindle readers), cell phones and computers, said Pat Conley, the county’s library director.
Conley said they’re hoping to have the website launched by mid-February where patrons will check out the e-books.
Conley said she doesn’t see e-books replacing their ink-and-paper counterparts anytime soon.
“It’s simply another way to get access to written material,” she said. “If this increases people’s willingness to read and to read for recreation, I say this is important.”
Conley said just like the paperback didn’t supplant the hardcover, and audiobooks didn’t replace print, she thinks readers will still want access to a variety of book formats. For example, she said electronic textbooks are less popular with students than expected because some students like to be able to write in the margins of their books.
“It’s simply going to be a matter of taste,” she said. “I don’t think it negates any of the things that have gone before it.”
Oakdale Branch Library patron Jodi Campbell said she probably won’t check out an e-book because she’s not technologically inclined, and she likes audiobooks because she can listen to them while waiting to pick up her kids.
She said her kids would probably be interested in the electronic format, though.
The Washington County Library system will likely spend $20,000 to $30,000 on buying licenses for downloadable books, Conley said.
The cost to buy a license for an electronic book is cheaper than buying a traditional book, she said, but the library must also pay a $15,000 per year fee (with $5,000 of that returned as a credit to buy book licenses) to the vendor, OverDrive.
The licenses allow the library to “loan” out versions of the e-books that lock up and become unable to read on the due date, she said.
As far as which titles they’ll stock in electronic form, “it’s an art, not a science,” she said.
Currently, the website that will house the library’s e-book collection is not compatible with Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, she said, but it’s possible that will change in the future. For the latest information on which devices are compatible, visit this website.