At the Ereader Panel Lunch and Learn at PSLA 2013, I admitted that after 3 years of planning and implementing the Nook Lending Program, I picked the wrong device. If I’d known in 2010 what I know now about the ebooks/ereader market, I would have held off on purchasing Nooks and gotten a few tablets starting maybe a year ago.
In my defense, the tablet market in 2010 was awful. My choices were the prohibitively expensive iPad with lots of apps to use (but not a great ebooks market) or not-quite-fully-developed Android tablets that didn’t have a lot of apps period. Now, in 2013, the landscape is a whole new world of choices!
Tables are where it’s at, folks. If you want to start lending any mobile devices to offer e-content, purchase and lend a few tablets.
When I mentioned my mild regret over purchasing 20 Nooks when tablets are now a much better option, my incredibly wonderful husband pointed out that I should cut myself some slack. After all, no one can predict with any certainty what’s the next big thing in technology, especially mobile devices. There’s no way I could have known that Barnes and Noble would struggle so much to remain competitive in the ereader market or that tablets would become so affordable and user-friendly.
There are numerous Android tablets that would suit the needs of many, many school libraries, not to mention the still-expensive, but easy-to-use iPad that many schools have already invested in. Both platforms are equally easy to use, in my humble opinion, so there’s no reason to lock yourself into one marketplace (Kindle or Nook). Get both the Kindle and Nook apps on your tablets and then you have the best of all worlds!
For our library’s and students’ needs, I am choosing the Nexus 10 tablets for my first foray into tablet use in the library. I have MANY cool and exciting (and sadly, time-consuming) ideas for using them during library instruction, and for now, I don’t plan to lend them out to students or faculty.
I’m also carefully looking at the rumors/news on the 2nd generation Nexus 7 that’s being talked about for release at next week’s Google I/O conference. At only $199 (rumored price), if the reviews are even half as good as the hype, I might consider getting some of them to supplement the larger Nexus 10’s. Until there’s an official announcement, however, all the tech world and forward-thinking librarians can do is watch and wait.
UPDATE: I eventually bought 9 of the new Nexus 7 tablets and reviewed them here. Amazingly, they are still working at the end of 2019!