Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Technology advances

Posting to NGC4LIB

"Playing With Fire: Amazon Launches $200 Tablet, Slashes Kindle Prices" http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/09/amazon/

So, a tablet for $199 and a Kindle for $79? We are entering territory where almost everyone can get one. For the Kindle, I have compared it to average book prices (in British pounds) that I found at http://www.holtjackson.co.uk/cgi-perl/web_avg_book_price.pl. Average prices were (after conversion):   
Adult fiction:  16.15 USD
Adult nonfiction:    30.79 USD
Childrens' fiction: 10.59 USD
Childrens' nonfiction: 13.69 USD

From this, it seems that anywhere from 2.5 books to about 7 books will pay for one of these new Kindles, that is so long as you read public domain books. For a Kindle Fire, it will be anywhere from 7 books to 20, and with a tablet of course, you can also listen to music and watch movies, surf the web, plus lots more.

Prices for the ebook versions are still not much cheaper than for print--hard copy at that! But there is less and less of a hurdle to people buying the ebooks/tablets, while we can all assume the prices will go down even more. People will want to borrow ebooks from the library, but maybe Amazon will do that, too. See "The birth of the Kindle Fire and the death of the public library"  http://www.extremetech.com/computing/97335-the-birth-of-the-kindle-tablet-and-the-death-of-the-public-library?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-birth-of-the-kindle-tablet-and-the-death-of-the-public-library where the author writes,
"Amazon announced that Prime subscribers (free, two-day shipping for $80 per year) will also get free access to almost 3,000 Fox TV shows and movies — an awesome prospect for any web surfer or tablet user — but more importantly, there are tantalizing hints that Prime users will also get access to a Kindle e-book library.
Let that sink in for a moment: for $80 per year, you would get unlimited library-like access to Amazon’s e-books. That’s the cost of 10 paperback books — and ignoring the fact of whether you can read 10 books per year, let’s not forget that you also get free shipping and Fox TV shows and movies for the same $80."

Changes are taking place at a bewildering pace now. How can libraries fit in, or even keep up?

I think that there is a huge need for librarians, but the field needs to take stock to figure out what it is that we provide that is genuinely unique, and build on those strengths.

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