Our goal in offering eReader services was to provide our patrons with an eRreader experience for reading and device testing, as well as to offer library materials in a new format in keeping up with technology trends. Borrowers would also have the opportunity to decide whether this new technology delivers reading in a way that fits their lifestyle before deciding to purchase their own eReader device. The service would also level the playing field between those who have ready access to new technologies and those who do not.
Which ever eReader device you choose, you have to be sure it meets your library's needs and your budget. The following links offer comparisons of some of the top-selling devices on the market as a starting point for determining your best eReader choice.
Central Carolina already had an established account with Barnes & Noble for regular book purchases. Because our library does not have our own credit card for online ordering, and since Barnes & Noble is a registered NC E-Procurement vendor, the Nook was the obvious choice for us. We had several discussions with the store manager at the Barnes & Noble in Cary for about a year before we actually bought the devices. During this period, the manager shared with us that they would be making some changes that would make eReader services easier for libraries. When we determined as a staff that we were ready to move forward with purchasing the Nooks, the manager told us that these changes had been made at that point, and that our timing was perfect.
We decided to go with the Nook Color since we wanted to provide the color feature should the eBooks we bought included illustrations, or if we added graphic novels. We also knew that we wanted to provide the free Netflix app, which is only available for Nook Color or Nook HD.
Barnes & Noble also offers a Business to Business (B2B) account for libraries purchasing 10 or more Nooks. This type of account lets you avoid having to store credit card information on the device itself. No one will be able to access the account through the device since only Barnes & Noble will have the password. The B2B account also stores your eBooks in the cloud. If the device is de-registered, or if a title is deleted, you do not lose the content. It can simply be downloaded again. (If you do not have a B2B account, then your content will be lost and you would have to re-buy it if a title is deleted or if the device is de-registered.) If a device is de-registered and you have the B2B account, you must take it to your Barnes & Noble store and they will re-register it and download your content for you. The process may take 20 - 30 minutes or longer depending on how many eBooks and apps were loaded on the device.
We purchased ten Nook Color eReaders in Febuary 2012. Six Nooks would go to the main campus in Sanford, and two would go to each of our other two campuses in Lillington and Pittsboro. We then began selecting titles and apps for our pre-loaded content the following month. We then had to wait for direction from the CCLINC Cataloging Committee on how to catalog the devices and construct the call numbers. This was approved in June. We received instructions from Colleen Turnage at the NCCCS on how to catalog the eBooks on the devices using the Bound With Wizard. Cataloging was done in July. In late July, Barnes & Noble staff came to our library to give us an instruction session on all the Nook features. In August, we did a staff testing period so everyone could get familiar with the devices. We began circulating the Nooks in September 2012, and marketed the new service on our Facebook page, our web page, our library newsletter, our college newsletter, mass student email, and fliers we put up around campus. The devices have been in constant circulation since then.
From the time the devices were purchased through the staff testing period, we had many discussions during staff meetings to develop our policies and procedures, as well as to anticipate any unforeseen issues or scenarios that may arise, and how we would handle such instances. We also had to get permission from our Board of Trustees to charge late fines for the Nooks specifically since we do not normally charge late fines. The fines were approved by the Board, as well as our user agreement. We decided we would earmark any late fines collected for purchasing new eBook content for the Nooks. So far, we have only had a few issues with late Nooks.