The Uncertain Status of E-Lending

Randall Stross has an interesting article in his Digital Domain column in Sunday's New York Times, Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug of War.
Worried that people will click to borrow an e-book from a library rather than click to buy it, almost all major publishers in the United States now block libraries’ access to the e-book form of either all of their titles or their most recently published ones.
I had the opportunity to play with a new Nook Simple Touch e-reader that has been provided to us for training, but I got stuck in the set-up phase.  The Nook wanted to register itself with Barnes & Noble, but was unable to connect using the library's wireless network, which, though open, has a library-access policy click-through page that the browser-less Nook can't render.  I was told that someone with a basic Kindle had the same problem recently.

Higher-end devices like the Kindle Fire have browsers that can display the click-through page.  M. said she would complete the set-up on the Nook at home.  Then we'll see.  The Nook Simple Touch is attractive, and feels good in the hand.  But, as with the Kindle, it presents itself as a container for content from a single source.   "Congratulations, Nook Owner!  Now let's go buy some books from Barnes & Noble!"  Library e-books will have to be downloaded and transferred from a PC to the Nook Simple Touch over a USB connection, apparently.

A couple of people have told me that, due to the small screen on a typical e-reader, the frequency of paging becomes tedious.  M. said that it's even worse reading on a smartphone.  I am beginning to think that the codex will continue to hold its own for a long time to come.

I am currently reading Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers, in a cloth edition published in 1989 by Oxford UP as part of its World's Classics series.  It is finely printed and bound, a delight to hold and read.  It is one of several Barsetshire novels that I added to the collection from donations in 2006.

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