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With the recent holiday and gift giving season there has been a bit of a buzz again this year about ebook readers. I had some personal interest regarding this as I seem to have a million and one PDFs that I want to read, but never seem to be able to sit down and read them on my computer.
Part of it is simply that I get distracted, the other piece is that I want to be able to write all over the document, or save a place and it never works with the ease of sliding a pencil between the pages, or dog earing a page.
So my own interest recently shifted as a teacher approached me to do a little research for them regarding what is out there. Now I knew about the Sony E Reader, the Kindle, software available for the iPod Touch, and now Barnes and Nobel's Nook, but I didn't realize that there were as many additional readers out there as well.
So what are the things that people are thinking about in regards to this? Here are some thing that I want to be able to do with My Ebook Reader, and a few I know some schools would want.
Now as I started to look at these different options, via just my web research the biggest question that I have so far is what about the management of content within the school? It seems that all of the readers allow for downloading of content via 3G or Wifi so it isn't like you can't get the content, but rather how would a school cut a purchase order for the content? Then what happens if a teacher wants a book that isn't on the eReader, even though the school district owns the book? I am sure that there are a million other questions from this stand point.
So why am I writing about this? Twofold, one to start to think about what are the implications of going to electronic copies of for content in our schools. Whether it is our library collection or our textbooks what does this look like and what are the different things that we should be thinking about. The other piece is to raise questions about what happens to our culture in regards to electronic media and who truly owns the content you purchase.
Another person that I was reading/listening to at one point earlier this month was talking about why eBooks aren't ideal in every way. He was talking about the fact that as a child he remembers going to peoples houses and seeing their books, then someone mentioning Oh you might like this book on ... This started to get me thinking about the few Summers that my family went to a cabin up in Maine for a week in the Summer. The living room of this place was covered with bookshelves. There must have been close to three hundred different publications lining the walls of this small space. I remember grabbing books at random to read over the week we were there nothing in particular, and nothing that sticks out in my head, but I was able to choose from a selection of books others at one time had enjoyed. So how would this look if all of the content that was there was electronic? Would there be a server rack in the basement that when I sat down in the living room and picked up my eReader out of my bag I'd be able to peruse the content?
Again similar to the concept of Music on LPs or CDs versus MP3s how will the digital content we create make it beyond our generation? This is something that I wonder about, since we may loose a little of our culture if all things digital won't be here for our reference in the future.