Today I presented at the Argentine Library Association Conference about ebooks in US Libraries, thanks to an invitation from the American Embassy (in Buenos Aires) Information Resource Center. I offered information about purchasing and accessing eBooks and about lending eReaders in libraries. But, I learned quite a bit in return! For example, no one who attended my presentation (about 80 librarians) offered ebooks in their library. Also, only 2 of the attendees owned an eReader (one Kindle and one iPad if you are counting). Why? There just are not many Spanish language eBooks available for libraries and the format has not become as popular yet. I expect this will change soon, as more publishers offer eBooks and US publishers move into the South American market. Continue reading
Today I had my first glimpse of the Buenos Aires Book Fair (Feria del Libro). I’ve never attended a book fair, so it was very exciting to see the rows and rows of publishers and other information providers with their booths and offerings. It is similar to an ALA conference exhibit, but the focus here is truly on books! Publishers have shelves and boxes of printed books for sale during the book fair and are expecting over 1 million visitors during the 3 week event. According to my local host, Jorge Rodriguez, Director of the Information Resource Center (IRC) at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires, the fair attracts the people of Argentina and surrounding areas, not just publishers. It is such a cultural event for the people of Argentina, who are very attached to reading and books. The love of books is apparent while walking around the city of Buenos Aires – independent bookstores are on every street!
The IRC of the US Embassy in Buenos Aires also has a booth at the fair and their theme is the evolution of the book. They have a variety of print sources, but are also displaying ebook readers and tablet devices as well. Their booth is all white, with flowing white canvas pieces hanging from floor to ceiling. From a distance, it reminds me of book pages turning in the breeze.
More to follow, including pictures!
On Sunday I’m headed to Buenos Aires to attend the Buenos Aires International Book Fair, and in particular, the Argentine Library Association Annual Conference. I’m very excited to have this opportunity to learn more about libraries, publishing and eBooks in Argentina and South America. While there, I will be presenting a couple of session on ebooks in US libraries and reference services in academic libraries. I hope to share some of what I learn about ebooks in South America on the blog, particularly information on the US Embassy Information Resource Centers. Stay tuned for more information, photos, and perhaps an audio interview.