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eBooks Have a Place on Library “Shelves”

In our increasingly technological world, the use of digital material continues to increase. Whether it is digital advertisements or images, examples of electronic products are everywhere. The use of technology is seeing increased efficiency in businesses of all kinds as people become more adept at using it both at work and at home. Yet technology and its use remains the topic of debate over when and how digital material is used in some sectors. One such sector is libraries.

People have long associated reading and learning with physical books. In fact, studies show that the tangible act of holding a book makes many people feel more connected to the reading experience. They feel more in tune with whatever they are reading if they are touching the book while reading. Not surprising really. The physical book is an example of technology, one that has been around a long time. Yet, eBooks still have their place on library “shelves” for a few reasons.

eBooks provide convenience for patrons

While many readers continue to favour the traditional book format, the convenience of eBooks is evident. The size and weight of some books can make them difficult to manage. Sometimes readers need to carry several books and that too can be difficult to manage. An eReader, loaded with a number of eBooks and journals, makes the material easy to transport, access, and read.

eBooks do not take up space

Libraries of all kinds exist to provide the users with educational and/or recreational information. Yet many smaller specialist libraries do not have the luxury of even adequate space to house all their information in a physical format. For many medical and legal libraries, texts can be voluminous and space “hungry”. The lack of space, for such libraries, is a significant issue. Providing much of their information requirements in eBook format becomes a viable alternative.

eBooks give people options

Many people still prefer to use the physical books whether reading for pleasure or for study. In other situations, eBooks may be more convenient. Different factors contribute to the decision people make on what type of book they want to use. Most libraries do provide their users with both options, enabling their users to choose the format they prefer.

The future of eBooks

As the electronic age continues, eBooks will evolve. Just how, remains to be seen. One major change will be the provision of a deeper interaction between readers and eBooks. There are interactive options already available on eReaders. Users can “write” notes in margins, highlight and save pieces of text, and “bookmark”. We may see enhancements that enable readers to “draw” an image of what they envisage as they read – draw a representation of the characters, surroundings, and buildings in the story. Interactive features will enhance people’s experience of reading eBooks on their devices.

The experience of reading and interacting with something tangible will always hold great appeal for many readers. Even so, it is not the only way to read. eBooks are simply another format and many readers do use both. The format will encourage new readers who are prefer to use digital devices for all sorts of activities. One thing is certain, books in both the traditional and electronic format have their place in libraries of all types, for users of all types.


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