Monday, August 9, 2010

Another nail in the tree-book coffin?

The Wall Street Journal reports, in a story on romance publisher Dorchester Press dropping all printed books and publishing only e-books:

"Romance fans in particular have already embraced e-books, in part because customers can read them in public without having to display the covers. In addition, type size is easily adjusted on e-readers, making titles published in the mass paperback format easier to read for older customers."

Now that's interesting. Large print books have been a staple in public libraries for decades. With e-readers now costing $150 or less, and Baby Boomers growing ever more adept with electronic devices, there could be a mass movement to Kindles and Nooks and Sony Readers in that aging population cohort very soon.

Or not.

Large-print books are free from libraries. New and current e-books cost money to download from and

Older readers tend to be stingy.

Do the math.


  1. the ontonagon township library provides ebooks for 2 week checkout. lots of titles, very easy to do. can't use a kindle, though.

  2. Eric, are these e-books older ones in the public domain, or are they current best-sellers and new releases? Those last two are what I had in mind.


    check them out with your library card number and pin (last four digits of phone #). it required adobe digital editions to use them, due to DRM. but that's free and linked right on the page there.

  4. I'm just a fan of yours, Henry, since reading "Zephyr" years ago (then getting to ride it!), and became high partial legally blind in 2003. Growing up with the local library as my "2nd home", I still love books, and glad I once again see well enough to read even regular print. You just cannot curl up and slowly peruse an audio book, and I don't even really care for my Bible on my PDA (it's convenient and small are the pros). Over the years, I've played music, and there's nothing quite like the feel (and sound) of a real wooden guitar ... or a real "wooden" Tree-book to caress!

  5. Here in NYC the library has 15,000 ebooks. Some are arcane but there are over 700 biographies including recent stuff (maybe not the newest stuff!) such as a bio of rail giant Cornelius Vanderbilt (which I have checked out for 3 weeks but am finishing a John Cheever bio first).

    Easy to load on my Nook. Haven't had to buy any ebooks yet!

    Admittedly there are wait-lists (the publishers put severe limits on the number that can be out).

    If your library doesn't have ebooks the Philadelphia Free Library
    offers out-of-staters ebook lending for $15 a year (Cards sent by mail take 3 weeks I hear. It does give them cash to buy more!). Many members of the Forum linked below use it: 3,000 books. (List here):

    VERY goodplace the for novice ereader to start (I frequent it daily):

    List of libraries w ebooks

    Top 15 libraries (8/6)

    1. Cleveland 18487
    2. Phoenix 18178
    3. Seattle 15526
    4. New York Public 15030
    5. Orange County (FL) 11828
    6. Washington DC 7678
    7. Washington County (OR) 6989
    8. King County (WA) 6925
    9. R.E.A.D.S. (TN) 6532
    10. Brooklyn Public 6491
    11. British Columbia 6320
    12. Los Angeles Public 6288
    13. Salt Lake County 5795
    14. Calgary 5099
    15. Virginia Beach 4999
    16. Columbus (OH) 4837
    17. San Francisco 4563
    18. Manitoba 4537
    19. Clark County (NV) 4184

    Chet in NYC

  6. Eric and Chet, thanks for the instruction! I had had no idea that e-books were so widely available for free in libraries.

    Netagene, I concur about the value of tree-books -- it is often a pleasure to pick one up to read, and there's no need to worry about a battery to charge -- but Progress Marches On.

  7. Pete Selkowe, an occasional visitor to this blog, sends along the following URL, which might help bibliomaniac hoarders decide what to do with all their tree-books:

  8. Henry: I looked at the web site for our very own Evanston library and found that they belong to a group of regional libraries for lending ebooks. However, they do not work on Kindles. The website is "" and it has interesting info.

    PS: Personal for Henry and slightly off topic, but the EPL board decided to levy their own taxes to all residents and the firestorm has begun. See "" and scroll down for some of the details.