Monday, October 19, 2009

Shift Again! Libraries in the Near Future - III

The current things we know will be happening to the Internet and Social Media.

Some people have suggested we are already heading toward Internet 3.0. It's possible they are correct. We all know that the internet will change. It has from the beginning. Here are a few things we know are in the works or are still valued.

E-Book Readers
Dead already? Not quite. On their way out? Quite probably. There are already apps on the iphone that will allow a consumer to find an ebook on Amazon and download it. These devices are bypassing the single-purpose e-reader. Zoom functions allow the reader to enlarge type without losing a sentence. Eye-fatigue from older devices is being is fading away with new technology.

And consider this twitter-quote from a librarian in Gilbert, AZ:

vickinovak Vicki Novak Phoenix, AZ Following
The holy grail of e-book readers would be one that is compatible with library downloads, along with wireless purchases of books/periodicals. 10:20 AM Oct 9th

Further, Roy Tennant quotes a New York Times article that points out current e-book reader limitations and what the future will be for these devices

  • A recent report from Forrester Research suggests most consumers will buy a digital reading device only when they cost less than $100. One way this could ultimately happen is if wireless providers like Verizon subsidize the devices and sell them in their stores, as they do with the inexpensive laptops called netbooks.
  • The general public (that is, "savvy consumers") doesn't want to shell out $3-500 for a single-purpose device and then have to buy content for it in addition to that upfront cost. Either lower the price significantly (not my preferred solution) or create a device on which we can do all kinds of other things in addition to reading (bingo!), and you'll be much more likely to capture my dollars, and the dollars of many other savvy consumers.
Netbooks? Single-purpose E-Readers? Curling up with a laptop in bed to read? These things are going to go away and go away fast.

  • Consider Amazon's Android app. How can this be adapted to libraries?
  • Will the current barriers with library contracts be changed to allow access to Overdrive and our subscription databases this easily?
  • Many libraries are looking at Summons from Serial Solutions. Will there be an app? Not just a mobile website, but an app?
  • How will your library prepare?
  • How will your vendors prepare?
  • Our in-person contacts with customers will continue to be valued and used. How will we educate ourselves to encourage customers to use all methods available according to the customer's technology demands, comfort with technology, and economic circumstances?
As always, it's a matter of balance. Think it over. What steps can you take now to prepare for this future?

No comments: