Sometimes I Need to Read the Print Version: When the eBook Doesn’t Evoke the Same Reading Experience

Original photo by Buffy Hamilton

Now that I’ve been reading books on the iPad/iPhone for about two years, I’m taking stock of some evolving patterns in my reading preferences.  A few trends I’ve noticed about myself as a reader:

  • I enjoy reading books that I would consider as “fluffy” or “light” (while still very gratifying!) fiction on the iPad or iPhone.  Not only do I seem to concentrate better on these types of texts in digital format, but I also seem to read more quickly.
  • Nonfiction is a mixed bag for me–initially, I didn’t notice a difference in my reading experiences of nonfiction from print to digital, but in recent months, I have felt a need to read nonfiction in print—the digital form of highlighting and notetaking just doesn’t seem to meet my needs like sticky notes, highlighted passages, and marginalia composed in my own hand.
  • Rereads of favorite fiction are definitely more enjoyable for me in print—I would say the sensory experiences I’ve associated with previous readings of a text in print are the primary reason for this preference.

I had not tried reading a book of poetry in digital format until this weekend.   In the midst of a poetry reading binge on Sunday, I finished two and a half books in print format and one in eBook format.   While I enjoyed all of the poetry reads, I quickly realized the experience of reading a collection of poems in the digital format was not gratifying, and in fact, felt quite uncomfortable—it was akin to putting on a cozy, familiar old sweatshirt and discovering it was suddenly scratchy and ill-fitting.  I literally had difficulty concentrating and soaking in the sensory experiences of the poems; the poems almost seemed sterile in eInk.  Now perhaps this is just a personal reading quirk, but the experience left me with these immediate reactions:

1.  I will purchase all future collections of poetry in print (unless I have a desperate midnight craving for a book that I feel compelled to read in the wee hours of the morning)

2.  Do others have preferences for certain genres in print vs. digital formats?  I’m guessing they do.

3.  How and to what extent is the sensory aspect of reading impacted by a print version versus a digital edition?  I know that question has been the subject of some mockery, but I think this is a legitimate and serious question to consider as readers have diverse needs.

4.  What are the implications of these kinds of questions or points for consideration when thinking about print and digital collection development?

What are your experiences as a reader?  Do you have a preference for certain genres in certain formats, or have you noticed your preferences evolving over time?  I realize what I experienced this weekend and the patterns I’ve noticed are not unique or earth-shattering, but the absolute dissonance I felt with my transaction with the poetry text in digital format are prompting me to think a little more critically about these questions.

A Creekview HS Senior Tells Us What Is So Great About a Kindle

I spent most of today helping AP Literature seniors get started on the “Senior Project” research projects.  Before we jumped into the research pathfinder, I kicked off class sharing the news about our new Kindles—what they are (I had one of our new Kindles in hand!), why students might want to check one out, and how we’ll circulate them as well as our Kindle ebook request form.

In one of our morning sessions, Mary, a senior, showed fellow students her own latest generation Kindle that she received as a gift this summer.  I was so impressed by how well she articulated how she is using her Kindle (as were her fellow students)  that I asked her to share those insights via video, and she graciously agreed to do so.  Take a listen to what Mary has to say about her Kindle–as we start to circulate Kindles on Friday (November 12), I am eager to hear our students’ thoughts and reflections on their experiences of using The Unquiet Library’s Kindles.

The Arrival of Our New Kindles and Procedures for Cataloging the Kindles and Kindle eBooks

Today Roxanne and I unboxed our five new Kindles (more are coming) and began the process of setting them up for circulation.  We also took a couple of hours to finalize our thinking on the procedures and protocols for cataloging the Kindle readers as well as the Kindle ebooks.  You can access the documents below by downloading them from SlideShare, or you can get them from our new Kindle LibGuides page.

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I also have created a little “update” video post; we’ll be trying to create more of these as to chronicle our journey and process of piloting our Kindle program at The Unquiet Library.

Two things we discovered today that we did not know:

  • You can charge the Kindles through your computer (it has a power supply/USB cable similar to iPhone/iPod).
  • The instruction manual does not indicate how long it takes to charge the new Kindles; it would be helpful for Amazon to include this information.

Our next step is registering and cataloging the devices this week; we’ll also be purchasing our Kindle eBooks and cataloging those as well as loading them onto the Kindles.  Please stay tuned for more updates!

On the Eve of Our Kindle Pilot Project

Anticipation and Patience

After a couple of months of delays in balancing purchasing rules/restrictions from Amazon and the purchasing policies of our district (as well as time crunch in which I have time to coordinate with my bookkeeper for the order because I’ve been so busy teaching), we finally are ordering our Kindles for our initial ereader rollout.   I am cross-posting from my Unquiet Library blog the contents of a post I just shared in that space, but here are some additional pieces of information you may find helpful.  There are no words to express how grateful I am to librarian Kathy Parker who has been nothing but generous in sharing her experiences, insights, and pearls of wisdom with me—a heartfelt thanks to this pioneer!

Why Am I Doing This?

Dr. Bob Fecho at the University of Georgia taught me to frame every decision making process with this line of inquiry back in 2002-2003.   I want to implement this pilot project to provide our students the opportunity to read on a device that they otherwise might not be able to access and to provide them an alternate reading experience in hopes that we can meet the needs of all students.    After reviewing the pros and cons of this pilot Kindle project, my principal, Dr. Eddy, agreed with me that that the possible benefits outweighed any drawbacks , and I am thankful for his support in this endeavor.  I’m truly excited to hear the students’ feedback on their experiences with ereading and the Kindles, and their input will be used to guide future steps in our efforts to provide reading materials both in print format as well as ereading containers.

Circulation Details and Other Helpful Hints

Because I’ve been receiving quite a few emails and want to share the entire Kindle pilot process with you, here is a brief synopsis of where we are; we hope to be in full circulation within the next week or so as we finalize the details of our purchase.

We are classifying the ebooks from Amazon for Kindle as a separate material type in Destiny, our OPAC.  We are using the prefix KIN for the books; the ereaders are classified as EQ for equipment.  We also keep a folder for each Kindle with a hard copy of the titles and also manage it through our library Amazon Kindle account.  We’re also planning on making a resource list for each Kindle in Destiny OPAC (i.e. Kindle 1) and adding each ebook to each list.
Here are three great blog posts that will be helpful in getting the ball rolling:
Also, here are some great tips Kathy shared with us:
  • For my own purposes I did label them Kindle 1 etc. This way I could keep track of which teachers had which Kindles when it came to downloading titles for them.
  • I did label the covers with Kindle 1, etc. Just don’t cover up the serial numbers when labeling.
  • You’ll need to register each one & you need the serial number.  We named/registered each Kindle: Seneca 1, Seneca 2, etc.
  • It was suggested to keep the boxes because if one is defective Amazon wants it shipped back in the same box it came in.
  • Don’t give any out until you get them all registered and labeled.

Next Steps

Intense data collection will inform and drive our decision-making processes over the next few months.  As I collect data and student permissions to share their insights and experiences of reading on the Kindle, I will share that data with you in this space.  I will also collect data on the types of books (fiction, nonfiction) students are requesting and reading as well as our efforts to personalize the reading experience with the Kindle.

The Unquiet Library Blog Post:  The Kindles are Coming

Image used with permission from http://goo.gl/IRFu

The long wait is nearly over!  We will soon be offering Kindle eReaders for circulation!  We will be purchasing the latest generation of Kindle that offers you 3G and wireless access to the ebooks.  The Kindles may be used at home or at school.   How will the checkouts of Kindles work for you as students?

1.  You will need to come by the library to get a checkout permission and information form [see below]—this form will need to be read carefully and then signed by both you and a legal guardian before we can circulate the Kindle to you.   Please note that all overdues and fines you may currently  have must be cleared before we can loan you a Kindle.

2.   Once the form is returned, we will place you on the waiting list as we will be starting with a small pool of the Kindles; we will notify you ASAP through your first period and/or English teacher that the Kindle is ready for you to checkout.   Either Ms. Hamilton or Ms. Johnson will give you a quick demo and “get started” one on one tutorial so you feel comfortable and confident using the Kindle.  We will also be posting some tutorial videos as needed on our Unquiet Library YouTube Channel.

3.  If there are specific titles you want, you can also complete a Kindle Book request form available in the library; we will do our best to accommodate all Kindle book purchase requests for students.  You can browse the Kindle ebook store to see if the book you want is available for the library to purchase in Kindle format.

4.  The loan period will be for one week.

5.  When you return the Kindle, we will ask you to complete a short survey and an optional video interview about your Kindle reading experience.  Your input will help us make an informed decision on future Kindle and/or other ereading device purchases!

Questions?  Come by the library or email Ms. Hamilton at buffy.hamilton@cherokee.k12.ga.us !

*Many thanks to librarian Kathy Parker who has been in invaluable source of information and encouragement in our efforts to roll out Kindles to you, our students!*

The Unquiet Librarian: Kindle Edition

Now that I have become a Kindle junkie in the last month thanks to my iPhone and my netbook (and now wanting an actual Kindle), I thought it might be fun to try out Kindle’s blog publishing for Kindle service.  You can now subscribe to and read my blog on your Kindle by visiting the link below the screenshot.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Unquiet-Librarian/dp/B003MNHVOU/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1

Amazon.com: The Unquiet Librarian: Kindle Store: WordPress via kwout

If you are interested in publishing your blog on Kindle, check out the program information page as well as this terrific “how to” article from Mashable.