An e-reader crisis for this book lover

October 21, 2011 at 12:00 am 8 comments

Oh man. The New York Public Library has finally jumped on board the good ship Kindle and is now offering Kindle-format books for e-borrowing.

I’ve always been a bit divided about e-readers, coming down mostly on the opposed side. I understand their convenience, particularly when it comes to travel and standing-subway-reading, but I also can’t quite swallow the loss of the physical appeal of books. I like their spines and pages and typography far too much to cave to e-readers yet.

That said, this news about the library is sorely testing my resolve not to buy a Kindle! I was perusing the NYPL catalogue this week and found a number of the books I wanted to read were checked our or otherwise unavailable physically, but were immediately available in Kindle format. I could literally immediately have my books if I wanted. But—but!—I would then be unable to flip through them or stack them comfortingly beside my reading chair.

Added to the debate is the fact that Amazon recently released a new flotilla of Kindle models, making them more affordable and giving me even more decisions to make when it comes to possibly get one.

I know some of you are e-reader owners and that pretty much everyone has an opinion about them, so I hope you’ll chime in here. If you already have an e-reader, does your local library offer books for it? And, for everyone, does a library offering e-books in a number of formats make you more likely to consider an e-reader?



Entry filed under: Musings and Essays. Tags: , , , , .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eva  |  October 21, 2011 at 2:53 am

    I’ve had a Nook since last Christmas, and a major part of my decision to go with that brand was that I could read ebooks from the library! I’ve already noticed my library’s ebook holdings growing extensively over the last few months, and I love that I can just download a book and start reading it right way.

    For me, I got a old-fashioned case for my Nook which really ups its ‘cosiness’ factor. I love my ereader (primarily for access to out-of-print classics and its easiness on my hands when I’m having health falre ups) and I love physical books: I think they all coexist quite happily. :)

    • 2. Corey  |  October 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      Yeah, I think I need to stop being quite such a Luddite. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), adoring one thing does not necessarily mean you have to dislike another, related thing. I can be a book-loving format-omnivore if I like and, with this NYPL announcement, I’m leaning in that direction!

      • 3. Kate  |  November 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

        I’m debating getting one — they are so cheap now, and if it gives me better access to every classic I could ever want PLUS library books? It’s something to think about…

  • 4. Britney  |  October 21, 2011 at 5:45 am

    I have a Nook because the Kindle only started supporting library books last month. I have yet to purchase a book for my Nook and I usually read library books – it’s incredibly helpful when reading a monstrosity like George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (all my library systems offer a very large 4-book file if you think you can read all 2600 pages in 2 or 3 weeks) and not having to lug around the book definitely has its perks. I’ve also just requested The Magicians as an ebook – in a few weeks I might try to read it again.

    Also, it’s a minor thing but I love being able to adjust the text size. If I feel particularly blind on a single day I can just make that type a little larger to give my overtaxed eyes a rest.

    I don’t use my Nook daily but for thick books (and trips) it’s particularly handy. All of my library systems support it – just had an article this week about how more and more of the library budgets are going toward making more books and more copies of popular books available electronically. (I use both the Boston Public Library and my local library.)

    • 5. Britney  |  October 21, 2011 at 5:46 am

      Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of newer releases and popular books are not available immediately – but I’m not sure if the digital lending is just that much more popular in Boston. I’ve looked and it seems that there are more books available to check out right now in the system my old Central Pennsylvania library uses.

      • 6. Corey  |  October 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

        Wow! You’ve never bought a book for it? Clever you! And you raise a very good point about hefty tomes and e-readers. I can only imagine how much more often I would re-read ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ if I didn’t have to actually lug it around.

        Also, really killer point about being borrow from “home” libraries (Central PA in your case) remotely with an e-reader. I hadn’t even thought of that!

        • 7. Eva  |  October 26, 2011 at 11:02 am

          I’ve only bought one book for my Nook, because it was on sale for $2 and by a reliable author! Between my library,, and Netgalley, I’ve got more free ebooks than I can read! lol

        • 8. Britney  |  October 26, 2011 at 10:23 pm

          So while I have access to a Central Pa library, I don’t really use it for digital materials. I don’t live *in* Boston, so my local library isn’t part of the Boston Public Library system (it’s in Minuteman with Cambridge and many other towns in the region). :)

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