Turning the page: E-books

The book world is changing, there’s no doubt about it

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – More and more, great literary voices are finding themselves on a new page; or screen.

Kindles, Nooks, and iPads are the portable libraries that allow for thousands of books on a single device.

“It’s convenient and you can actually access a lot of books without actually having to bring the books with you, so it’s lighter and easier sometimes,” said Buffalo mom Jenna Deitrich, who started using e-books and audio books after she had kids.

Carol Batt is the Chief Operating Officer at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.

“E–books have actually been around for maybe as long as ten years, but it’s really in the past five years or so that the devices became more affordable and the type of devices the average person would use. And certainly in the past two to three years, we’ve seen an explosion in the industry,” she told News 4.

While overall, the Library has seen a slow decline in circulation, there’s been a steady increase in the number of e-books being read. Below are the circulation numbers of e-books from the previous four years.

  • 2012: 256,585
  • 2013: 327,613
  • 2014: 383,730
  • 2015: 391,441

The Library has had to adapt, but Batt said incorporating e-readers into the system has been fairly easy.

Betty Preble helps organize the annual American Association of University Women’s book sale every year. She admitted, the group is always aware of the growing number of e-readers.

“Every year we wonder, is this the year we won’t get books?” she said.

“It’s certainly not the case this year, we have more than ever. Is this the year we won’t sell books? That’s still a concern.”

Most years, the AAUW sells about 75 percent of the books they receive.

Getting books hasn’t’ been a problem in recent years.

“We have tons,” Preble told News 4.

There’s an entire basement full of them at the AAUW headquarters. Preble said more and more of them are coming in, but getting people to buy them isn’t as sure of a thing.

“An immediate concern? No. I think they’ll still be in this year, but if they go down, we’ll have to start worrying,” she said.

Some people are tied to the nostalgia of hard copy books; the feel, the smell, even the sound of a turning page.

“The Amazon Fires or anything like that. I don’t like that,” said Chris Lukas of Buffalo.

“I’m using the computer all day long, and I think sometimes it’s just nice to have that break of actually you know, going back to the old traditions of a book,” she said.

For all the pros of digital reading, some think old school is best.

“I think they’re at a loss,” said Greg Thornton of Buffalo, referring to people who only read digitally.

“Technology is taking over, so whether it’s good or not, it’s going to happen,” he said.

So is there a better way to read?

Actually, yes.

A series of studies claim traditional books are better for memory retention; they also put less strain on your eyes than the screens on e-readers.

Experts also say paper books tend to interfere with sleep less.

But e-books win out for people with learning disabilities; they allow for modified formatting, which makes reading easier for people with Dyslexia.

The book world is changing, there’s no doubt about it.

But Batt said most people are still in the hybrid phase, testing the waters.

“We’re seeing e-book users are often still print readers. So we will see them looking for a combination of things; the e-books are actually listed in our library catalog so when you do a search for a title like “Gone Girl,” you will see an e-book opportunity option and you will also see a print option,” she said.

The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library now has an E-Library card. It allows you to download e-books and audio books for free without ever having to leave the house.

The AAUW used book sale is June 1-5. The location is still to be determined. Click here for more information.

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