The E-(book/audio) Dilemma

E-book and E-audio books are fantastic! They are how I listen to the vast majority of my audio books and how I read most of the books on my honeymoon. However, they have some issues.

Where I live and work the majority of library systems work reciprocally. For example, you might live in the bounds of system A, but border system B, and work within system C. As long as you have a library card from system A, you can register your system A card with systems B and C and use their resources. EXEPT for e-resources (book, audio and zinio). This can be annoying because system C might have a bigger e-resource budget and can purchase more items, which you are unable to access. It all has to do with taxes and system budgets etc, which rationally makes sense, but we don’t usually think rationally at all times.

That’s issue number one.

Issue number two also makes rational sense, but in the world of Netflix and Spotify, patrons want immediate gratification. For my point to make sense, let me rewind… My husband finished A Game of Thrones on our last day of the honeymoon. Perfect timing, until our final connection got cancelled and our rescheduled flights the next day got delayed (seriously never fly with me). Anyway, I found A Clash of Kings in Overdrive and showed him how to download the book to his phone and I told him how in 3 weeks it would disappear, so he needed to read it fast. The first thing he said is “I can just download it again though, right?” Well, kind of… as long as nobody else has it on hold you can… This concept made no sense to him for a while, given my pop culture examples above. How many people do you think are watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix at any given time? Who knows, but it is a lot! Surly, if Netflix can make the resource available to everyone at any given time, the books should be available too. Since I haven’t done a whole lot of research on that particular subject, I decided to do some and find out why the systems work so differently (although, the main one is each subscriber pays for Netflix as opposed to taking advantage of a free system like the library).

Basically, it comes down to book publishers being a much more conservative breed than music and TV/movie producers, and the fact that publishers want you to buy their books. Therefore, they’re going to make it difficult to access in non-traditional ways and, according to K. T. Bradford, “publishers have decided to force libraries to treat e-books like paper books, so only one person can check them out at a time. The library can only check out as many copies of an e-book as they’ve purchased or licensed from publishers. Seems like an antiquated way of going about things, right? It gets worse. Publishers also decided that since e-books don’t wear out the way paper books do, they need to put limits on how many times a title can be lent before the library has to buy a new copy.” Finally, Jason Illian writes in Entrepreneur, “unlike music subscription services, like Spotify, where a user can consume hundreds of songs a day, the average ereader is lucky to get through one book a week or even a month…Conclusion? It’s hard to throw a game-changing party when people show up only sporadically and don’t want to pay a cover charge.”

Admittedly, the articles I referenced are not the most up to date, but I felt they explained the issues most clearly, and as far as I can tell, there aren’t any major changes, aside from Oyster going out of business.

Adult Coloring Books

I’m sure you’ve seen the plethora of adult coloring books available in stores recently. Personally, I’m partial to this one (my husband actually bought it for me for Christmas) and this one, since I love Harry Potter.

How is this library related? I came across this article about New York Public Libraries and their coloring club. I always have coloring sheets available for kids in the children’s area and I provide adult coloring pages, but now I’m inspired to run an actual club.

Books I Read and Forgot to Review

I’m still getting used to this blogging business. I usually finish a book, rate it, categorize it, and write a short blurb on Goodreads. Here are a bunch of books I read since starting the blog and forgot to blog about.

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

It was a sweet book, and I felt for the characters, but after reading The One and Only Ivan, I expected more. More character development, more plot development, more everything. However, Crenshaw does touch on homelessness, an aspect of childhood that many books do not, so I appreciate that.

 

 

 

Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton by Matt Phelan

Wonderful illustrations, and I like the authors note at the end. However, there didn’t seem to be much of a story. I enjoyed the book because I like old movies. I don’t want to imply that no child ever will like the book, but it seems like one of those juvenile books that adults love and nominate for awards, but kids actually don’t like. When I worked at Borders I overheard one kid tell another something along the lines of, “see those books with the award sticker? That means it’s boring.”

 

 

Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye

This was my library’s book club book for November. I couldn’t get into the book and I didn’t care for the characters. The only interesting thing (for me) is the setting. I love Duluth and the North Shore. Everyone else in my book group loved it though…

 

 

 

 

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Beryl Markham is a fascinating person and I loved her story. Colonial East Africa is also a fascinating time period, and I’m sure I’ll read more. However, the last several chapters dragged on and on. As always, McLain’s writing is beautiful and the characters are wonderfully developed. When I first began listening I did not realize Markham was a real person or that Karen in Circling the Sun is Isak Dinesen who wrote Out of Africa.

 

 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean is a major romantic. She writes each of the boys she’s loved a letter and stores them in her hatbox as part of her moving on process. Nobody knows about her letters until somehow they get mailed, and now everyone of those crushes knows. From her middle school crush on the most popular guy in school to her sister’s ex-boyfriend.

While Lara Jean isn’t the most sympathetic of characters, she’s very realistic and I somehow still find myself rooting for her. Peter K. is the same way– I feel like I should really dislike him, but somehow, he wormed his way into my heart and I root for him too.  I also think that the audio version makes her sound whinier and more babyish than the book intends.

What I Read this Week(ish)

I apologize for the long break in posting! I got married in the beginning of February (!!) and then we went on our honeymoon. So, not a lot of posting… but I did read a lot of books on the honeymoon! And I finished one audio book in the days leading up to the wedding.

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

Mia is 25 and still madly in love with Michael Moscovitz, who finally pops the question. Only problem… the news of their engagement gets leaked, and Mia’s dad reveals a HUGE secret that will impact the rest of Mia’s life.

I listened to the audio version of this book and it took me so long to get used to the narrator. Even though the books are different than the movies, I still expected to hear Ann Hathaway’s voice as Mia. Also, as a bride-to-be, I really wanted to hear more about the wedding planning and wedding itself. While entertaining, the title of the book is very misleading.

 

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Graham is a teen heartthrob, Ellie is a small town girl with a big secret. They shouldn’t have met, but after an email address typo, the two start an email correspondence. When Graham stars in a movie set in a small town, he knows the perfect place for shooting…

I started this book way back in August and enjoyed it immensely for the first half. Then life got crazy and I put it down and kept forgetting about it. I finished the second half in an afternoon and still found it just as fun and enjoyable as before. I appreciated that the ending was not wrapped up in a big happy bow and the characters lives are basically decided at the age of 17.

 

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

I listened to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, but apparently I forgot to blog about it.* Once I finished I knew I wanted to read the sequel and immediately put myself on the holds list.

P.S. I Still Love You follows Lara Jean and Peter as the reconnect, only for their new relationship to be rocked by the return of Gen and John, and a viral video of a certain provocative hot tub makeout that Lara Jean and Peter thought was private. Not only does Han skillfully navigate the confusion of teen relationships, she brings in modern issues like cyber bullying, without turning it into a soapbox issue.

 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book was super popular when it came out in 2011 but I never got around to reading it then. When I saw that it was available as an e-book I knew it was a good option for me, in case I started reading and it got returned, I could still finish the book at home with the print copy.

The back flap claims, “Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters.” So I was expecting a lot more action and adventure. Aside from the terrible way Celia and Marco are treated as children, I didn’t see much danger or fierceness in their competition. Luckily, Morgenstern made up for this with her writing and imagery.

 

The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the girl power was not it! I love it! However, I didn’t really like any of the characters or understand a lot of their motivations. Granted, this could be because it was my second day at the airport after the third leg of our honeymoon return flight got cancelled in Philadelphia and we had to spend the night in Philly and then hope our new flights from Philly to Charlotte, Charlotte to Minneapolis, don’t get cancelled. Suffice to say it was a long couple of days.

Anyway, back to the book. Miri and her family live on top of Mount Eskel, a territory in the country of Danland. They don’t have much to do with the lowlanders and are surprised when an emissary from the prince arrives telling them that the next princess will come from Mount Eskel. As such, a Princess Academy must be established to train the girls and make them worthy princesses. The girls learn about the world beyond their mountain and the importance of community.

 

*It’s one of my New Years Goals to post more frequently. That and go to bed earlier. So hopefully, this won’t be much of an issue in the future!