Wednesday, March 9, 2011

eBooks and You-Thoughts from the Bomb Shelter

Good evening readers! It is your friendly survivalist librarian, coming to you from somewhere under ground, testing out the bomb shelter. Time is ticking away, so if you have not yet begun your preparations, loyal followers, I urge you to do so post haste!

I am writing to you tonight because there has been something weighing heavily on my mind ever since I have returned from a Survival Librarian Conference in Colorado's beautiful Western Slope. It is the issue of an emerging technology that has been taking the literary world by storm. That technology is the electronic book, or eBook. Now, dear readers, I am sure that you have heard about eBooks (unless you have been living in your bomb shelter for the past year) and you probably have some questions. Well, I am glad you have turned to us, because Pink Panda and I are reliable sources of information for everything library- and bomb shelter-related. Recently, eBooks have become very popular, with many different devices such as the Kindle from, the Kobo from Borders, and the nook from Barnes and Noble. I attended an informational presentation at the Conference, and here are my thoughts:

1. eBook readers will be very useful for bringing thousands of works of literature into the bomb shelter. I have heard that an eBook reader can hold 1,500 titles, and the battery can last for a month. The good thing about having the eBook reader in the bomb shelter is that there will be no WiFi signal to drain the battery, but the bad thing is that there will be no WiFi signal with which to buy more books once you have read all the books.

2. LCD screen readers (nook from Barnes and Noble) can be read in the dark because they have a backlit screen. This will be helpful for those times where we need to conserve the bomb shelter energy, or when our bomb shelter lifemates are trying to sleep, but we just can't put down the book we are reading because it is so engrossing.

3. The font size on eBook readers can be enlarged, which is good in case our glasses break, like that guy on the Twilight Zone who just wanted to be the only guy in the world so he could read whenever he wanted, but then he broke his glasses so he couldn't see the words on the pages.

Despite all these pros for eBook readers, I want to caution you loyal followers, that this can not be the sole means of reading materials with which you stock your bomb shelter. Obviously, eBook readers run on rechargable batteries, but those batteries eventually run down so you will need some sort of electrical generator or solar panel to recharge it. And you might need that energy for other things, like cooking food. Also, if you depend on your local public library to obtain your eBooks, you should know that there are limits on how long the file can be accessed. If it takes you longer than 21 days to get to the end of World Without Us, you will be out of luck because the library website will probably be pulverized by the world ending. Along those same lines, beware of magnetic waves rendering your eBook reader useless if it is not stored properly.

Personally, in our Bomb Shelter I will rely heavily on building a print collection of reading material, because print is reliable, comforting, familiar and not prone to electronic mishaps. Also, depending on how the end of the world comes about, there is no guarantee that your eBook reader will even work again once we can re-emerge. Print books are also multi-functional, as they can be used for kindling and toilet paper, if the situation ever becomes that dire. I am interested to see what your plans are, dedicated followers. Will you be a purist with only print materials, a modern technologist with only eBooks, or a combination of the two?

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