E-reading: Transforming today’s book culture


When I first got my Droid, I was wrapped up in all things Internet and app.

Nevermind the Kindle on there. I assumed that would collect dust. 

I’m a book girl. I love the smell of pages, and the sea of bookshelves in my home. And wherever I go, I bring a book.

So when I finally got to testing this Kindle business on my phone, my expectations weren’t very high. Nonetheless, I downloaded a couple of my favorite books. 

It surprised me. Not only is my Kindle the most portable “book” I’ve ever toted, it allows me to have a small library with me at all times.

And it appears libraries quickly are boarding this e-reading train. 

The American Library Association recently reported 67 percent of public libraries in the United States now offer free access to e-books.

ReadWriteWeb writer Audrey Watters says that figure is up 30 percent since 2007

“Of course, access to e-books ranges greatly from state to state,” Watters wrote, in her June a piece entitled Is This The Tipping Point for E-Book & Libraries? “One hundred percent of Maryland and Utah libraries offer e-books, while only 25 percent of libraries in Mississippi do so.”

Apart from libraries, e-reader ownership quickly is growing. 

Kristen Purcell, associate director for research with Pew Internet Project, wrote recently that the number of U.S. adults who own an e-book reader doubled to 12 percent in May from 6 percent last November.

I had to know more. So I went to Facebook.

Not surprisingly, many pals sang the praises of their e-readers. 

Maria in New Jersey just upgraded to the Nook Color.

“I still have a library card, but instead of going to the building, I go to their website and download the book from there,” she says. “There’s usually a waiting list for books, and I can only read them for two weeks, but if there’s something I have to read right away — like a new release — I’ll just buy it. But for the most part, I ‘borrow’ them from the library.”

DC pal Allison says she reads on her Kindle, but she buys the actual paper book when she comes across a keeper.

I found many folks do some degree of this: They read on their electronic devices and collect the “good ones.”

Erin in Virginia says she won’t touch a book now that she has a Kindle. 

“It makes for sharing a great book pretty hard,” she says. “But I love that I can instantly ‘buy’ a book I want anywhere I am. I still like to flip through a real magazine every now and then though.”

Christine’s Nook converted her entirely to e-reading.

“I protested as long as I could, but now I love having my library at the tip of my fingers,” the North Carolinian said. “Also, I’ve read more in the last few months than I have in the past year.”

Image Credit: Amazon