Tag Archives: E-books

Privacy and reading

Privacy is a hot topic these days.  There’s much ado and furor, but not a lot of clarity.  And now, even what you read is being tracked!

Your e-Book is Reading You details how the Amazon, Nook, Kobo and other e-readers are reaping huge amounts of data from their customers.  It’s starting to ask a question publishers and authors have long hypothesized about:  what do readers want?

Now these companies are able to tell who is reading what, and how fast they read it.  They can tell if you’ve finished the book, or dropped it.  If you highlight, annotate, make notes, or bookmark,’ they can even tell what quotes you wanted to remember or what pages caught your attention.

Some of these numbers are fun.  Average speed of reading George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons?  About 50 pages an hour.   But there is a concern that learning the exact tastes and habits of e-readers will start to impact what writers write and publishers publish.

Not to brag or anything, but contrast this controversial data collecting with libraries.  Once you’ve turned in a book, we don’t keep records on what you’ve checked out.  This protects your privacy against anyone who comes to the library wanting that data.  Some people want us to keep those records — “I don’t remember if I read that or not!” — and that’s actually a feature we intend to incorporate in the future.  But we want that to be your decision, not ours.

What do you think?  Do you want your consumer habits to be private, and if so, why do you care?

P.S.  Same thing with Netflix!  Click here to read what’s happening there.

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Filed under Authors, Books, Intellectual freedom, Internet

Are you an e-reader?

Have you tried e-reading yet?  More and more often we have people coming to the library with questions about downloading e-books and other digital dilemmas.   Very frequently they tell me, “I never thought I’d want to, but someone gave me this thing, and once I tried it I’m amazed at how much I like it!”  Then they hasten to say they’d never want to give up “real” books.  (Thank goodness.)

If you’d like to try e-reading without investing in a machine, you can.  Both Barnes and Noble (the Nook) and Amazon (the Kindle) have applications you can download to your PC or Mac for free.  And there are plenty of free books to download.

Speaking of free books, if you are a Kindle owner, you may want to know about this website: http://www.ereaderiq.com/.  There you can see the newest free books for Kindles, updated every day, and other nifty services as well.

And here’s a YouTube of how to find free books for your Nook.

There are many more resources on the web to help you in your quest.  Check here and here for tips and links.  So many books… so little time.

So tell us: do you e-read?  What are the pros and cons of it for you?  Do you have any tips for people thinking of trying it out?  Share you wisdom in the comments!

           –Mary Beth

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The Battle of the Century

Newsweek magazine recently created this boxing poster-style graphic announcing the world championship bout between books and e-books, complete with a “tale of the tape” that included relative weights: 2.2 pounds (print edition of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) vs. 8.5 ounces (Kindle edition).

As someone who loves books and reading, and is an advocate of reading to young children, I’m just not ready to give up on books in the form of actual words printed on a page. But I am also a firm believer in “never say never,” so I’m not going to say I’ll never read a book in e-book format.

Did you notice the headline of the Newsweek poster? “DOES ONE HAVE TO WIN?” Maybe this world is big enough for both formats. Please take a minute to answer the questions on our e-book poll and let us know what you think about this battle of the century.

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Filed under E-books, Reading