Monday, April 19, 2010

E-Books at CCLS?

Last week, one of our members emailed me to ask when was the Cumberland County Library System going to start supporting the Sony e-book reader.

Very good question! Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer.

The commercial e-book market for libraries is slowly evolving, and there isn’t a clear platform that would be compatible with all readers. So, we are reluctant to make an investment that may not be worth much in a few years.

However, the bigger problem right now is the library system’s fiscal situation.

Our budget for new materials was cut by more than $142,000 this year, about 1/5th of our total budget. In addition, we had to cut 2076 hours of service from our operating hours this year, closing 3 libraries an entire day during the week.

So, it is even more difficult for us to buy any kinds of new material formats.

That being said, I remain hopeful that once the economy turns around, our library budget improve. So, my best guess is that we will be supporting eBooks within the next 5 years.

In the meantime, here's a list from "Technology to Software" of their top 12 sites for free e-books.