E-books: Amazon vs. OverDrive

Last year I received my first e-book reader, a Kindle Fire, as a birthday gift. I had long promised myself that I would never own an e-reader. I have nothing against technological advancement and the so-called progress of our digital world, but I like my books—real books with coffee-stained pages and glossy covers.  However, I have slowly warmed to this whole e-reader thing and now…I secretly love my kindle. How could I have lived without one for so long? I have the best of all worlds—my treasured collection of paperbacks purchased at charming bookstores or on Amazon, the large plastic-covered hardback novels I check out at my public library, and numerous ebooks floating on the cloud or permanently stored on my Kindle.

This newly discovered eBook bliss has led to a fresh dilemma—should I purchase my eBooks or borrow them from my public library? Why not a bit of both? Is one better than the other?  When questioned by friends about which is better, my first thought was to ask them, “do/did you buy print books or check them out at the library?…it’s the same thing.” But, as I now know, this is not the case.  Finding an e-book of the latest bestseller at the public library can be problematic—there may be no copy available (and you can add your name to a waiting list) or the library may not have it at all.

Cost is another big issue. I’ve heard that the long-standing battle between public libraries and publishers is improving, as more publishers are now willing to let libraries purchase their books in e-book format. And OverDrive checkouts are on the rise, as reported in a recent Library Journal article. But public libraries pay up to 5.7 times more for ebooks than prices paid by consumers for ebooks from Amazon, according to the DCL Ebook Report in the January 2015 issue of American Libraries Magazine.

I found so much other information on the web while doing my e-book research that  making sense of it all is a challenge. Despite the fact that e-books have been around for several years, they are relatively new to me, and this may be true for a lot of others in the library profession. So this gave me an idea for my next post—where to find the best information on “e-books and the library world.” See you next month.

 

 

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Author:Lisa Block

Lisa Block is a Medical Librarian and freelance writer. She loves libraries (who doesn’t?) and her career includes previous positions at a university library, technical college, and public library. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she graduated from Ohio University with a degree in art history. After years of working as a secretary and waitress (utilizing her art history degree) she earned her Master’s degree in library science. Her professional interests include the library in the digital age and “library as place.” In addition to her work as a librarian, she picks up writing jobs when possible (nice work if you can get it). She lives in Atlanta with her imaginary cat Tabitha (she’s a cat lover but highly allergic). In her spare time you’ll find her reading (mystery novels are her favorite), writing, and baking (mostly gluten-free desserts).

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