Indiana Daily Student

Watch out bookstores, E-books are now here

Forget about flipping through a book: more and more people are scrolling through them.\nThe electronic publishing industry is growing, thanks to new technology and online school books.\nFor years, Web users have been able to order books online from retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. But now, books are being offered on the Web on CD-ROM and in text.\nSchool Zone Publishing recently released elementary school level workbooks on CD-rom, and the IU department of Spanish and Portuguese recently adopted a multimedia CD-ROM to accompany the regular texts.\nWhile many texts are being put online, other texts are being published online before appearing in print. Electronic publishers, such as 1stbooks.com, are selling electronic titles by the dozens every day and many by celebrity authors such as Stephen King and Richard Lugar, who both had books published online.\n"Here we help authors publish, sell and electronically distribute their books to the more than 150 million readers who use the Internet," 1stbooks President Timothy Jacobs said. "We download hundreds of books a day."\nMost titles available on the Web cost only a fraction of what a text copy costs, since there are no printing, binding or shipping costs. Most downloadable books from Barnes&Noble.com cost between $2 - $5, while their traditional counterparts often cost from $10 - $25.\nOne problem that electronic books encountered at their inception was that they weren't as portable as regular texts. But with the inception of hand-held downloading and reading devices, like the Rocket E-book, electronic texts are now more portable than hard copy texts; a standard E-book is a little bigger than a calculator, but can hold 4000 pages of text. The Rocket E-book cost about $200. A new version of it and a similar reader will be released by General Electric later this month.\nThe Owen County Library recently purchased an E-book, and the Monroe County Library has been seriously considering buying equipment to access electronic texts, but the local demand of electronic texts is still debatable. Since buying the E-book in April, the Owen County Library has only had about ten readers use it, Assistant Director Vickey Freeland said. This number looks even smaller when considering the library hosted 7,449 visitors for the month of July alone.\nBut the Monroe County Library is still considering buying E-book equipment. While there is currently no provision in the library's budget for electronic books and readers, Supervisor Cass Owen said library employees and administrators frequently travel to conferences and conventions in order to learn more about electronic books.\n"People were beating down our doors for DVDs," she said. "We haven't had one patron request this. But that doesn't mean people won't use it if we have it"

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