As expected, this holiday season saw an explosion in the sale of tablet computers and e-readers. According to this article from MSNBC (shared by our Facilities Manager Charles Crouse), during December Amazon.com sold over 1 million Kindles of various types each week, and during the week between Christmas and New Years Eve over 20 million Adroid and Apple IOS mobile devices were activated and over 1 billion mobile apps were downloaded.
We are certainly seeing the effects of this in the library, as patrons come in with their new devices seeking help with everything from connecting to our WiFi network to downloading e-books. As I wrote in my earlier post, the staff is doing its best to help - our "Getting Started With E-Books" guide is prominantly featured on our website, we have invested in a selection of devices for staff training, and we will soon begin to offer small group (2-3 people) hand-on training to the public by appointment. We also continue to beef up our e-book collection, which now has over 1,000 titles.
I'm sure we will make it through this wave in decent shape, but I am less confident about our institutional ability to respond to the tectonic shifts that are generating these waves.
My friend Derek Wolfgram posted this article ("Why Best Buy Is Going Out of Business...Gradually") from Forbes on Facebook this morning. It's about Best Buy's failures during the holiday season just past and what they say about the company's ability to survive in the digital age but, as Derek pointed out, the issues identified are as relevent to libraries as they are to retailers: