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May 9, 2011

Growing readership

Libraries await a new wave of e-patrons as Kindle rolls out borrowing

(Continued)

Librarians agree that the increased call for Kindle access came shortly after patrons unwrapped thousands of them around Christmastime.

"Last year, we had some interest, but this year after Christmas, we had tons of interest and inquiries about it," Kyrios said.

Kyrios said part of the reason for the increased interest is that technology for e-readers is improving rapidly, making the reading experience even more enjoyable.

"The technology is changing all the time, and it depends on what you want to do on the device," Kyrios said.

Many patrons enjoy the color screen version of the Nook for reading magazines and surfing the Internet, she said. But for those interested in reading books or newspapers, the Kindle is the e-reader of choice. The color Nook also suffers from a shorter battery life than the Kindle, whose black-and-white screen sucks less power, she said.

Another common theme as to why Kindle patrons are suddenly interested in e-books is that they're going on vacation and they don't want to lug pounds of books on the plane.

Asked whether adding Kindle users to the mix might lessen the need for physical books, DiTullio said she believes that there will always be strong demand for the printed page.

"But we do have a lot of people who use digital technology in addition to that," DiTullio said. "People want more choices."

Kyrios agreed, saying she is simply keeping up with technology, much like she has done by offering the free music downloading service Freegal, audiobooks and foreign language programs

"I know I'm not alone with that, but these are the things that we provide," Kyrios said.

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