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Posted July 22, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Curl up with Kindle
Library patrons can get Times-Dispatch on wireless reading device
By Elizabeth Wilkerson -- firstname.lastname@example.org
EDINBURG -- A digital device has put the state capital's newspaper back into the hands of readers at the Shenandoah County Library.
Director Rob Pasco said the library recently purchased a Kindle DX, a wireless reading device produced by Amazon.com, so it could subscribe to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which stopped offering daily delivery in the area last year.
Pasco bought a Kindle for himself when it came out, saying he "felt kind of a responsibility to investigate it as a library person." About six weeks ago, he said, Amazon sent word that the full text of the Times-Dispatch was now available daily on the device.
"The real thing was getting the state capital paper available the morning it's published," he said. Though the library could have subscribed to the paper by mail, its delivery would have been delayed, he said.
The hand-held device -- which sells for $489 -- has a 9.7-inch screen and is just more than one-third of an inch thick, according to Amazon.com. Pasco said it comes with lower newspaper subscription costs and is environmentally friendly, since there isn't a paper to dispose of at the end of the day.
"The only disadvantage is only one person can see it at a time, but that's the same as with a newspaper," Pasco said. Residents can look the newspaper up on the Internet, if the computer is fast enough, he said, but with the Kindle, "you're not tied to your computer."
The newspaper, which the library had been buying for 50 cents a day, now costs $6.99 a month, he said.
"Right off the bat, you're saving the cost," Pasco said. Initially, only the "big papers" were available on the Kindle, he said, but five years down the road patrons could find digital reading devices in place of the library's newspapers.
Dallas Moore, the library's technology services coordinator, said the newspaper is delivered to the Kindle DX automatically each day. The size of the print can be increased, Pasco said, so "it's good for people that need large print."
A speaker and headphone jack are built into the device, which can read the newspaper to patrons in a synthesized male or female voice, Moore said. Other documents can be stored on the Kindle DX, he said, so county or library documents could be put on it.
Patrons can check out the Kindle DX at the circulation desk and use it in the library's reference section, Pasco said, and "we keep your library card while you use it."
Some "well-to-do library systems" may allow patrons to check Kindles out, but then there's no way to keep users from buying books on Amazon -- the device stays connected to the Internet -- and charging it to the library's account, he said.
Moore said some patrons are hesitant to use the device while others "think it's really neat," but the response has been generally positive.
"The alternative is we don't get [the newspaper] or have a delay, and we really do need it in a timely manner," he said.
The library hopes that users who are interested in Kindles come by and try them out, Pasco said.
"We just think it's a win-win situation," he said.
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