The library and e-book readers

E-book readers and the library's role

Online bookshops (, and other vendors promote the use of E-book readers. They make these investments presumably because they feel that the time is ripe and E-book readers may become a normal piece of consumer electronics. In the past the library has purchased a number of readers to make users aware of these upcoming developments. Now that electronic bookshops and others are investing in e-book readers we feel that they should support their general use. Wageningen UR Library will concentrate on tips and best practices how to use the electronic books and journal articles that we make accessible in de digital library on the most popular e-book readers.

Issues using library material on e-book readers

Electronic bookshops provide their books and journals in different technical formats and different readers support different formats. For an overview of formats and hardware / software that supports it see the Wikipedia entry at . The bookshops have chosen other formats than the PDF format that is predominant for scientific journals and electronic books. So PDF support of different readers is an important feature for us.
Electronic bookshops organize to some extent on the e-book reader the content that was bought in their store. If one reads other material it is important that the e-book reader allows the user to give items meaningful names and possibly store them in different folders.

Readers that we have looked at

Legal constraints?

An e-book reader is a personal reading device and therefore we do not see any legal contraints for the use of e-book readers with the licensed material that we give access to. The word 'reader' is sometimes used in an entirely different sense, i.e. a collection of printed articles that is used for teaching. There are certainly legal constraints for such a use of licensed materials; see (in Dutch)

Do you have experiences? Please share

Analysts expect that e-book technology will evolve and new types of readers have already been announced. The library could buy them all for test purposes but we prefer to spend those funds on the collection instead. If you are using a type of e-book reader that we have not covered yet please contact us, and share your experiences.

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mail icon Wageningen Digital Library, 1 September 2010