Princeton e-reader pilot

Jennifer Baxmeyer and Trevor A. Dawes now talking about e-reader circulation at Princeton University Library. (some more detail online at

Trevor kicks off. Princeton offered chance of participating in pilotting the use of Kindles in libraries. The pilot showed that the Kindle DX was good for leisure reading, but not so good for study – esp. inability to use multiple texts simultaneously (note Kindle has changed since 2009)

Started to receive requests to download content to the devices. Seeing huge increase in ebook sales and usage (possibly driven by Xmas presents as see spikes in January)

Amazon sell 105 e-books for each 100 printed books.

Jennifer now coming in to talk about proposal the library made to start engaging with increase in ebook usage.

Received an ILL request for an item that turned out to only be available electronically and in fact only on the Amazon Kindle. Realised this was the tip of the iceberg. So started a working group to determine best way of acquiring e-content when requested.

Already many libraries lending both e-books and e-book readers (not just Kindles)

Princeton realised they were going to have to purchase several types of e-book device to offer content available in different proprietary formats. However, some platforms – specifically the iPad – can support multiple different formats via different ebook reader apps – Kindle App, Borders app, iBooks etc.

Decided to pilot Kindle and iPad as this covered the main formats. Proposed purchase of 3 iPads and 4 Kindles. Already had a laptop circulation programme, so could use same approach for iPad. Kindles were circulated in specialist engineering/science libraries.

For iPads same content would be available across devices, and patrons could request new items which would be reviewed by purchasers as any stock request. Kindle would have specialist (and non-duplicate) material on it, and each Kindle would have different content on them.

Next step to figure out how to make items discoverable – started to advertise via newsletter and email. Also decided to catalogue devices and the content on the devices (other libraries such as MIT and Stanford do this as well). Catalogue record was for the device, then a ‘contents note’ would detail the items. Each item also catalogue separately, but represented as linked and bound together with single item so that if device was checked out, all items would show as unavailable.

Cataloguing model still not completely agreed – still working on it.

Trevor again now talking about accessibility issues. This had come up in the Kindle DX pilot and accessibility had been challenged by US National Federation for the Blind (they wrote to all libraries participating in the pilot). This resulted in agreement with Justice Department including the term:

“The University will not require, purchase, or incorporate in its curriculum the Kindle DX or any other dedicated electronic book reader for use by students in its classes or other coursework unless or until such electronic book reader is fully accessible to individuals with visual impairments.”

This agreement is binding until 30th June 2012 . Letter available online at

This means that currently there is a delay in launching the program. At the moment staff can checkout iPad or Kindle for three days – gives opportunity for feedback, and to get staff familiar with the devices. Allowed some purchase of apps/content, but had to be ‘work related’, and limited how many could be purchased. Part of the requirement of checking out the device was to fill out survey.

Now have green light on going ahead with iPad lending program – so that will be starting off soon – aiming for June 2012. However, issues with Kindle still unresolved…

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