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Thinking about an e-Christmas gift?

The new e-reading devices that have come out this year might have you thinking it's time to buy, say, a Kindle Fire or Paperwhite or something similar.

The prices are not too bad.

But you might want to borrow one from a friend before making the purchase as a gift to yourself.

Research shows that some people don't like to access books on e-readers because of eye strain. Others don't like them because you can't pass along a book you've read to someone else. And, of course, you cannot keep the copy on the bookshelf.

My own feeling is that e-books are so overpriced that booksellers, including Amazon, should just give you the e-reader, kind of like razor-makers almost give you the device so you'll have to keep buying blades.

Also consider that many of the most popular books are not going to be available at an e-library, because big publishers won't sell their properties to us. Before investing in an e-reader check to see if your favorite authors can be borrowed by going to our catalog web page and clicking on Overdrive.

If you plan to buy, do your homework first.

Not much of a bump

A report out today says that winning the Nobel Prize for her writing increased Alice Munro book sales by more than 4,000 percent in her native Canada, and by multiples of thousands elsewhere, too.

Wondered if demand went up for her books in the library here.

But, there's no real way to tell. We have only three of her books, and of those one is "missing."

We don't have the newest one, which came out, I think, right the week of the Nobel announcement.

And until we get it in, no one can reserve it.

Publicity surrounding the prize doesn't hurt, that's for sure. I just can't translate that into anything meaningful here.

Ebook website makeover

Check out the new Central Texas Digital Consortium website.

Just click on the Go button by the search slot, and you will be taken to our online catalog. Scroll down to "Overdrive" and click (after logging in with your library account and phone numbers).

Overdrive is the company the consortium contracts with to provide ebooks, both the "print" kind and the "audio" kind, as well as musical offerings.

The new site is better organized and more user friendly than the older, out-of-date one.

Plus, it gives you some information about what people are downloading the most.


Best books?

What's the best work of fiction published this year?

The Goodreads Choice Awards were announced today, and the award for best work of fiction goes to "And the Mountains Echoed."

Several patrons who have read the Husseini book were not very high on it, frankly. And no one has come in yahooing and yodeling about it.

But, then, I haven't gotten a lot of feedback on many works of fiction produced in 2013.

As I have mentioned before, though, the most popular books so far this year are by Grisham and Balducci.

Goodreads' top nonfiction? "The Autistic Brain."

Best Young Adult Fiction? "Allegiant."

Best memoir/biography? "I Am Malala."

I don't think Goodreads Choice Awards are the same things as best-sellers.

Any new novels out there?

We're not sure what happened, but after a promising start our budding writers of books didn't come in today to celebrate the end of National Novel Writing Month.

About a half-dozen hopefuls showed up at the kickoff to the month back in early November. But at our event scheduled today to celebrate their accomplishments, we had no one show up.

Maybe that means they didn't meet their 50,000-word-in-a-month goal. Writing more than 1,000 words a day is a pretty daunting goal.

Or maybe they are still writing!

We hope it's the latter.