eReader Experiment

Last year my oldest daughter worked in an office supply store. She has a remarkable gift for the retail concept of up-selling and because her store was across the street from my office, I was frequently a target customer. One of the items I purchased was a Kobo eReader (on sale, plus the employee family discount – a deal). For some time I had been wanting to experiment to see if providing a device loaded with firm owned eBooks was a workable concept.

The Kobo became the property of my law firm library and it holds a selection of ABA law practice management eBooks, plus the Alberta Rules of Court (the publicly available PDF) and a few other PDF downloads. The eBooks on the Kobo are tethered to our library netbook – the same machine that is our infrequently used public access device and frequently used training tool. The public login for the machine has a virtual sticky note pinned to the desktop that directs users of the netbook to Adobe Digital Editions. The Kobo has a card and pocket (our low tech and highly effective circulation method) so that when it travels it can be located and some lovely labeling that proclaims it property of Field Law. We have promoted the titles on our eReader and shared it a few times with users.

The purchased eBooks that are on the device have a license that allows us to create one print copy of the works. It may be no surprise to Slawyers that the print version of these titles have circulated more than the eBook+device. It was a bit of a surprise to me. I like paper books a lot and I also don’t mind reading on a device – it especially beats lugging around heaving things on planes and trains. I thought that having a content collection like the practice management texts – all of which were purchase on request titles – would make it easy for people to consume the bits of this content that were relevant to them. I also thought that making a device available to borrow with selected titles pre-loaded would be attractive to users. This turned out to be incorrect assumptions at least for this one year.

I suspect that my users would find it more useful if I could lend them eBooks from my collection for use on their own devices, but that day is not here yet for Canadian law firm libraries – maybe soon…

The 2013-14 Library eReader device+content experiment was a non-starter. A low risk, low expense experiment thanks to that family discount.

Have any other firms or libraries experimented with the device+content model of eBook lending?


  1. Interesting experiment – thanks for sharing.