Top Tech Trends – Ebook Readers and the iPad

I was a panelist at PLA 2010’s Top Tech Trends session, and talked about ebook readers and the ipad as a top tech trend to watch in 2010. Here’s my outline for the session:

Ebook Readers and the iPad:

  • ebooks have been around wince 1971! that’s when the gutenberg project started!
  • 1998 – first ebook readers appeared

how many different models are there?

  • at least 20 different manufacturers

over 2 million free ebooks

  • 15 different file formats!
  • kindle, txt, epub, html, pdf, etc
  • epub
    • open free format – not proprietary
    • css, xml styling
    • default standard, not everyone (ie., kindle) uses it

Operating Systems on ebook readers:

  • linux
  • android
  • windows mobile/win ce
  • iphone OS


  • most are 6-8 inches or so
  • mobile version – iphone is an ebook reader, other phones

e-ink or LCD

  • e-ink – imitates the look and ease of readability of print while consuming little power


  • most are in gigabytes
  • holds hundreds of books


  • wifi
  • cellular networks
  • price – 150 to 750
still sorta like the 90s with cell phone or PDAs

why did I pick this for a top tech trend when they’ve been around for so long?
Apple likes to change things
  • Mac – changed the computer industry – mouse and GUI were pretty obscure untilt hat first mac came along in 1984
  • ipod – changed the music industry – pricing, formats, size, etc., mp3 players
  • iphone – changed the cell phone industry
    • touch screen
    • more than just a cell phone – games, internet, browsers, ipod, movies, calendar, email, twitter, facebook, etc, etc, etc
    • many copycats

iPad will do the same thing  – but to what industry?

  • gaming and movies
  • will probably change the ebook industry
    • better ebook reader
    • more like a book – flip the pages by touch
    • color
    • great screen
    • turn the thing to flip the screen
    • accessibility built in
    • and 5 of the 6 largest publishers are already on-board.


  • money – they’ve seen itunes and the app store and want in

What might we have by end of 2010?

  • The iPad ships on April 3
  • iPad will be on version 2-3 by the end of 2010
  • will have made millions of publishers millions of dollars, Apple even more
  • price will have probably dropped
  • more publishers will be using the epub format (and wanting into itunes store)
  • copycats will start to appear

Issues for libraries to consider:

our patrons will start buying iPads soon.

  • does it work with Overdrive?
  • does it work with our catalogs?
  • can patrons plug them into your PCs?

staff issues

  • can your staff use them to help patrons who own one?

library stuff

  • can patrons check them out?
  • can your library buy them for patrons to use/check out?
  • battery life -do you charge the battery before handing them out to patrons? Do you have a place for multiple devices to be charged behind the circ desk (or wherever you might keep them)?

bigger issues

  • content licensing and DRM
  • Jenny Reiswig

    I am psyched about the iPad personally. I've thought tablet/slate devices were the way to go since, well, Star Trek. But having tried a few tablet computers over the years, the form factor and performance have been real problems. I've been really impressed with the iPhone OS and if they can bring that design and performance to a bigger screen, I think this will really drag the industry toward this form factor which is great. But… everything is so geared to an individual owning the device and buying content for it. We have licenses for some large ebook products from companies that have since brought out a mobile version. Is it included for our users? No. They are expected to pony up for content we already “bought” if they want to use the “app” version. I'm concerned that libraries are going to start getting cut out of the picture for real here as the big content providers finally can get us off their backs what with our penchant for giving stuff away free. Goodbye first sale doctrine for real.

  • verizongowtham
  • verizongowtham
  • zixmail pricing

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  • zixmail pricing

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  • Kelly

    I did not know that eBook Readers were invented in 1971. I do remember hearing about them in the 90’s. I am crossing my fingers that my Husband will get an iPad for Christmas!

  • LienDTK

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  • ThuanTM

    Oh thanks, i appriciate that!

  • VuLN

    Oh nice, thanks for your information!

  • James

    It’s a nice post over here.
    private label rights

  • James

    It’s a nice post over here.
    private label rights

  • iPhone Application Developer

    Seriously good information, here. Thanks for posting it.