Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Week 11 Prompt

Personal Preferences
I typically go with what is the most convenient. I have no problem with eBooks. I like that they are much lighter in my purse. I don't go anywhere without a book, so this can make a big difference. I like the immediacy of eBooks. I do not like the long wait lists that come with the more popular eBooks through my library's lending system. (They use OverDrive.) If it is a book that I am going to permanently add to my collection or read over and over, though, I want the physical book. There are times where I just want something familiar. For those books, I want the physical copy. I love seeing them placed on my shelf. If it something that I don't know I will love yet or am impatient to read (and the library doesn't have it available in any format and waiting 2-3 days to get it from Amazon is unbearable and I can't go to my local bookstore because it is completely unorganized and half an hour away), I am okay with purchasing an eBook. While permanent collection is compromised of more physical books, I wouldn't put myself in Camp Anti-eBook.

I can definitely say that I am in Camp Don't-Even-Suggest-An-Audio-Book. I understand their merits for other people, but they are definitely not my cup of tea. I am very much a visual learner. Pretty much my only experience with audio books dates back to elementary school. The teacher would occasionally make us follow to a recording of a book that the class was reading. I hated it. I always finished reading before the narrator. I despised the chiming sound that mean you had to turn the page or that the chapter was finished. I felt like the background noises meant to coincide with the text's descriptions just completely threw me out of the experience. Not everyone shares my preferences, though. I get that and in no way do I think that they are useless.

Initial Thoughts
With my personal preferences, I did not at first realize the implication that format could have in this case. They are still the same book after all, right? The only things that I could come up with are the advantages for people with disabilities. For the most part, there is a lot that you can alter about an eBook. If you have trouble reading small print, you can make the font larger. If some colors are harder to read, there is the option to alter that. If the font itself is unbearable, you can change that. Don't have a reliable way to get to the library? Check out an eBook. Do you rely on a transportation service due to mobility issues? Check out an eBook. Will you end up pulling your hair out if you try to go to the library with your crazy children who have to touch everything and need your undivided attention or will run around? (I've totally been there.) Check out an eBook. Work during the hours that the library is open? Check out an eBook. There are so many advantages to this format.

After the Readings
I never thought about the fact that you can't see how much is left could make a difference. I am afraid that is all I will think about from now on. (Thanks a lot, Dunnebeck.) I can definitely see how that could be an important appeal factor. If your excitement (or dread) builds up as you see the end of the book approaching, then the eBook format probably isn't for you. I have run into the problem of trying to find a specific part in a book for reference. If you need to remember exactly which character they are talking about, for example. Skimming back through to find that spot is definitely much harder in an eBook. On the flip-side though, attaching notes and highlighting is much easier. EBooks allow you to look at a list of the notes and highlights that you have made and go back to those spots specifically. This could be an advantage for someone who takes extensive notes during a book. (I occasionally do this if I am reading for an assignment or trying to find out who the murderer is in a mystery. Have you ever read The Westing Game? It is one of my favorites from middle school and definitely one that could require note-taking depending upon your style.) You also have to consider how easy it is to physically read an eBook. Reading an eBook makes it much easier to read at night because you don't need as much light, but at the same time it can be very hard on people with sensitive eyes to read on a back-lit screen. I never really thought about how all of these factors could relate to reader's advisory until this week's reading.

Audio Books
Initial Thoughts
I honestly don't know much about audio books. I am overwhelmingly a visual learner, so I haven't had an personal experience with them myself. I can understand their value for people who learn or pay attention better when presented with things in an audio format. I also hear a lot about people who travel a lot or are taking a long road trip using audio books. Audio books could also be beneficial for those patrons who have a visual impairment.

After the Readings
I knew nothing about audio books before reading this week's article and blog post. I never even put any thought into the narrator; I assumed that the book was narrated by the author. Are the narrators featured just as highly (or more so) than the author on the case? Do certain narrators stick to certain genres? Just from the different descriptions of narrators I can understand the importance of choosing the right one. It needs to match both the tone and mood of the book while also appealing to the listener. Patrons can have preferences between male and female characters, reading pace, and voicing characteristics. I assume that there are narrators with different accents as well. This could have an effect on whether or not a listener enjoys the audio book. Then there is the format of the audio book. You have tapes, CDs, and streaming. I know that you can get audio books through Amazon's Audible and that OverDrive provides streaming audio books. It seems that a lot of people use audio books in a vehicle though. Would it be practical or even accessible to use these in the car? They would need to consider what they would be using it on. How are audio books formatted? Is there a track for each chapter or does it just go from beginning to end? Do they all have cues at the end of each chapter? Are there some that use multiple narrators in order to voice different viewpoints? I didn't realize just how much I didn't know about audio books. This reading left me with a lot of questions. I can definitely understand how their is more to reader's advisory of this format than simply whether or not you like to listen to a story rather than read it.


  1. Paige, I appreciate your honesty and the way you gave your initial responses to each format. This week's readings definitely illustrated to me how important learning about these formats really is.

    I am a visual learner like you. I had actually thought about how complicated a book like the Westing Game would be on a device. I can remember the first time I read it how I had to keep my finger in the page with the character list to keep them all straight. This would be next to impossible to do on an ereader.

    Your mentioning about listening to audiobooks in elementary school made me think about when I was in junior high and we listened to The Lord of the Rings. I had to get the book and read it myself because I would always tune out and start thinking about something else. I try to listen, but it is just not my cup of tea so to speak.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Sorry, I meant to say the book I read was The Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

  2. Paige, I was totally like you when it came to audiobooks. Hated them, also due to middle school experience. Two years ago, I decided to listen to a YA book just so I could tell what my patrons are experiencing. I wanted to be authentic in my approach to my patrons. I listened to Kissing in America by Margo Rabb. I know you're in Camp-Don't-Even-Suggest, but seriously, TRY IT! I couldn't believe how much I liked it and how much I related to the characters. Another one that I've tried (on a fellow librarian's recommendation) is Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Fabulous! These are YA's so they're not too complex and are wonderful books. I was totally surprised to find that there were a few audiobooks that I actually liked. Still not my favorite, and will likely never be, but at least now I feel like I can have some sort of understanding for patrons who do like them, so I feel like a better librarian. (Sorry if that comes off sounding preachy...)
    There are definitely some books that DO NOT translate well to audio format, for example Orson Scott Card's book tend to be way too complicated and difficult to keep track of, especially if your attention turns to traffic for a few minutes. His books require total concentration.
    For ebooks, if you have patrons that dislike backlit reading, recommend a regular Kindle. These have no internal lighting - you have to have a lamp or other light. Also these are the best for people who like to read outdoors (beach, park, porch, etc.) since they don't have any screen glare. It's really just like looking at a book page. I love mine. Also, just so everyone knows, my Kindle lets me know what percentage of the book I'm at, so I do know how much is left. If I'm at only 60%, I'll turn off the light and go to sleep, but if I'm at 80% I'm likely to keep reading, lol.

  3. Fantastic prompt response! I love how you organized your opinions before and after the readings, it made for fun reading! Thanks for sharing! Full points!