Students walk into class with iPhones, laptops, e-Readers, and backpacks. They say they’re carrying books, and maybe they are.
To parody Gertrude Stein, a book is a book is a book. Or is it? Today books are available in forms never imagined by printer Johannes Gutenberg.
Handheld e-book readers are a burgeoning business these days. Consumers now have the choice of hand-held readers such as Sony, K2 (Kindle 2), e-bookwise, be-book, with more heavy-duty readers like the iRex targeting business.
Unlike reading e-books on computer screens, many handhelds use e-Ink, a technology that makes reading much easier on the eyes. Some readers, like Kindle, also make it sinfully easy to buy and download books by using Whisper-net, the technology used by cell phones.
In a revolutionary move, Amazon offers free Kindle technology to iPhone. While the iPhone doesn’t have the e-Ink feature, the Amazon-iPhone partnership heralds a new era in reading.
Web sites like Project Gutenberg, Many Books, Free-ebooks, and many more offer a huge range of classics to recent fiction and non-fiction for handheld owners. (Use keywords “free ebook” in any Web browser to get page after page of Websites.)
While textbooks aren’t readily available as eBooks, this should be the next big jump for textbook publishers given the number of students who own and use handheld devices.
Currently online e-books like those offered by the SCC library can’t be downloaded into handheld devices although they can be read on those with Internet access. All one needs is an active SCC library card and a pin number to read a book from an off-campus computer.
Are paper books dead? Of course not. But reading them has branched into new avenues.
Now it’s not just your credit card you shouldn’t leave home without. Take your entire personal library with you too.