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Readers Adapt With Technology

With the country’s second largest book chain store, Borders, closing all 400 stores, many local people are worried about the survival of other books stores as e-readers gain in popularity.

To see how the way we read is changing, we met with those following the trends closest.

Carrie Stevens has worked at Hastings in Idaho Falls for 13 years.

As her customers have turned to buying books online, she has felt the effects.

“It kind of hurts all of us really,? Stevens said. ?We are all kind of hurting in a way because of sales because everything is all computer-done now.?

With news of Borders closing all its stores by the end of September, Stevens is worried about the future of her store as well.

“It’s kind of scary if big stores like that are closing,? Stevens said. ?What will happen to us, too?”

“It worries me because there are so few bookstores these days,? said library patron, Marjorie Freund. ?I hope Barnes and Noble isn’t next.”

There are signs, however, that many people still like to hold the book in their hands. In fact, the Idaho Falls Public Library has doubled its circulation in the past seven years.

“As long as the library keeps old-fashioned books, I’ll be good,? said library patron Tamra Burkett.

The Association of American Publishers says e-book sales have increased by more than 150 percent this past year. With that in mind, the Idaho Falls Library has set plans in motion to adapt to the changing demand.

This October the library will be adding e-books to its inventory.

“We are actually looking at that to reach a different segment of the population that uses the library,? Idaho Falls Library Director Robert Wright said. is reaching out to students by offering them the opportunity to swap their heavy piles of expensive textbooks for the lighter electronic versions, available to rent on their tablet or e-reader with savings of up to 80 percent.

Local students said they might think twice about buying a Kindle.

“I think it’s a great idea,? said ISU student Dusty Byington. ?Not only do you have money, but then you don’t have a bulky backpack to carry around and you have all your books right at your fingertips.”

“School is really expensive and textbooks are a pain and I think anything that can save money is a good idea,? said ISU student Shelby Nielsen.

?It sounds appealing but I don’t know if I am technologically comfortable with putting my academic career in electronic devices’ hands,? said ISU student Jamie VanDyke.

Whether students move to electronics or not, Stevens said she just hopes there will always be room for books on the kids’ shelves.

“I hope there will always still be a demand for them,? Stevens said. ?That’s what we have always known, that’s what we have all grown up on and I hope that doesn’t ever change. I would just be sad if it did.”

Owned by Borders, Waldenbooks in Pocatello will also begin liquidation sales in the coming weeks.

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