"Powered by ideas, ideals, and by idealism." This is one of the first few lines in the mission statement of Project Gutenberg, a Web site stating that it is the first—and largest—single collection of free eBooks. Another tidbit worth mentioning is the fact that it is completely run by volunteers, and there are no dues or membership requirements. While they do gladly accept donations and new volunteers, the site makes its main goal clear: “...provide as many eBooks in as many formats as possible for the entire world to read in as many languages as possible.”
If you own a Nook, Sony, Kobo, or other non-Amazon e-ink (black and white) eBook reader listed here and you’ve checked out eBooks from CRRL, chances are you’ve had the misfortune of dealing with Adobe Digital Editions, the gateway between most copy-protected eBooks and reading devices. If you’re planning on giving or receiving one of these toys this holiday season, you’ll want to read on. Adobe Digital Editions is poorly designed, non-intuitive and relies far, far too heavily on keyboard shortcuts and buried menus. Even with its recent, underwhelming 2.0 update, be you tech “dummy” or “genius," it’s a pain. Sadly, it’s what we’re all required to use in order to get our eBooks from the Internet to our devices. Read on to learn its secrets.
Updated November 2013: After a year of living with much of this tech, I have some new insights that should help you decide if you want to settle for slightly older hardware at cheaper prices when shopping for the 2013 holiday season. I have also provided links to the updated versions of the devices that were listed in 2012 as alternatives to the standard Apple/Amazon/Google/B&N devices.
Dear eBook Retailers & Publishers,
The eBook world has fallen into an even sorrier state with Amazon's announcement that its new Kindle Fires will feature unwanted advertisements right out of the box (though Amazon caved pretty quickly on offering users a way to buy out the ads). I read that, then I re-read my last blog post reviewing different aspects of eBook retailers: four pages worth of trying to make sense of the eBook landscape and that was after some serious condensing. I brooded for a moment, then said to myself, "eBooks are a big, stinky mess!"
I keep hoping and praying that the eBook situation will get better, but aside from Tor's announcement that their eBooks will no longer be copy-protected, things are getting worse. There are too many different eBook stores using too many different file and copy-protection standards, methods for transferring eBooks, and too many types of hardware, many tied to a single retailer. So to the eBook powers-that-be: I'm done being coy and hoping that you'll come to these conclusions on your own. Here's what you need to do!
The holiday shopping season is looming which means it’s time for a new round of eReaders to be introduced from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and maybe, just maybe, Apple, and there will be several months of us giving them our money. But before you buy, read on to find out exactly what you’re getting into, in terms of both hardware and retailer.
You may have noticed that eBooks and eReaders are catching on with people. With reports of ridiculously large sales numbers around the holidays, such as the one million Kindles sold each week of the 2011 holiday season, one gets the feeling that these gadgets might just have some staying power.
At the Central Rappahannock Regional Library we have been delighted to offer the public free eBooks to check out through services like EBSCOhost and OverDrive.
Overall, the public seems to be equally delighted with the service as our circulation statistics for eBooks continues to climb.
EBooks from the library have a number of advantages:
- No late fees, period!
Now, we have heard from numerous patrons that eBooks they check out will, through one technical hiccup or another, remain on their devices past the check-out period and concerns have been raised that overdue fees will be assessed because of this. Have no fear: if you’ve experienced this difficulty, it does not change the fact that your eBook is indeed available for other patrons to check out, and you will not be fined one cent.
- 24-hour service: our digital offerings are available for you to check out any time, any day, regardless of whether the library is open. You want to read a Sookie Stackhouse book at 2 AM on a Sunday morning? You can do that on OverDrive! Or, maybe you’re working at the last minute on a big paper for school and you need some serious non-fiction to help your research, but the library is closed. Well, head over to EBSCOhost; with book titles as diverse as “Higher Education and Democracy: Essays on Service-learning and Civic Engagement” and “Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War,” I’m pretty sure EBSCOhost has your back when it comes to research.
(Photo of eReaders by The Daring Librarian)
- There are practically no limits on your checkouts.
Now, I do say practically. Technically, OverDrive limits you to seven checkouts at a time, but you can return your books quite easily to free up space in your checkout queue for another title. This can be done through the Amazon.com if you checked the book out on a Kindle, through Adobe Digital Editions if you’re reading it on a Nook or Sony, or through the OverDrive Media Console app if you’re using a tablet computer. And while EBSCOhost does not yet allow books to be returned early, you can have up to fifty titles checked out at once; we hope that will be enough.
At long last eBooks are now available for checkout for the Amazon Kindle®!
Over 900 eBooks are now available for the Kindle through our OverDrive Web site. Our new OverDrive eBook service is popular, so if you see a book that you want, but it's checked out, simply click the "Request It" link to place a hold. You'll be notified as soon as it's available.
This update allows almost all of our OverDrive eBooks to be read on all Kindle devices or by using free Kindle apps on iPhone®, iPad®, Android™, and other mobile devices. At launch, there will be a small number of PDF titles that are not yet available for Kindle. OverDrive and Amazon are working to reduce this number to achieve greater coverage.
All you need is an Amazon.com account (credit card NOT required) and your library barcode & pin to sign into your OverDrive account! (Contact us if you are unable to locate your barcode & pin. It is the same information you use to login to your account when using our library catalog.)
Give it a try! overdrive.librarypoint.org
NetLibrary users can now access our eBook and eAudio collection through EBSCOhost's new web site.
Even if you previously had an account with NetLibrary, you will need to create a new account with EBSCOhost.
Watch the video below for an overview of creating your myEBSCOhost account and how to download eBooks.
You can also ask a reference librarian to create an account for you in person or over the phone.
Call your branch and ask for the adult reference desk.
Please visit our eBooks page for more tips on creating your myEBSCOhost account and for a short video with tips on searching for eBooks and how to download eAudio.
A loving relative (or maybe it was you, yourself!) was good to you this holiday season and now you want to fill up your Kindle or Sony Reader with books. Or you are looking for even more to do with your iPod Touch. Try these sites for free eBooks:
Let’s talk about eBook readers. I’m sure you’ve seen one by now. Rectangular pieces of plastic capable of storing thousands of books to be read anytime, anywhere. Now equipped with screens employing the latest “electronic ink” technology that mimics the lighting qualities of real paper, they are fast supplanting the "traditional" portable media player as the tech to talk about.