Amazon has recently announced the release of their Kindle portable reader. It looks very revolutionary.
Here is Amazon's description of the product, "Amazon Kindle is a revolutionary portable reader that wirelessly downloads books, newspapers, magazines and blogs to a crisp, high-resolution electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight. Kindle customers, no matter where they are in the U.S., can wirelessly shop the Kindle Store and download new content — all without a PC or a WiFi hot spot. Amazon pays for Kindle’s wireless connectivity so there are no monthly wireless bills and no service commitments for customers. The Kindle Store contains over 90,000 books that can be purchased and delivered wirelessly to Kindle, each in less than a minute. Customers can choose from hundreds of top newspapers, magazines and blogs and have their subscriptions auto-delivered wirelessly. All New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases are $9.99, unless marked otherwise. At 10.3 ounces, Kindle is lighter and thinner than a paperback book, carries two hundred books, and includes built-in access to The New Oxford American Dictionary and wireless access to the Earth’s biggest encyclopedia, Wikipedia.org."
I wish that this product gave wireless access to the Encyclopedia Britannica instead of Wikipedia. However, I am sure Britannica wants paid for their product while Wikipedia is free so I realize that is not going to happen. Despite this, Amazon Kindle appears to be a very nice product. You can read a lot of books, periodicals, news feeds, blogs, etc. in lots of locations. And the reader looks easy to use and carry.
So, are any libraries planning on buying Amazon Kindle and allowing patrons to check-it out either for use in the library or to take it home? If this works as promised, this would be a great boon for many patrons who can not afford the current price tag. Should we as librarians strive to make this available to our patrons?
I am not sure if this is something that I am willing to do yet. However, I have no doubt some libraries (particularly public ones) are already considering this. I guess I want to see how this goes with other libraries first.