Technology at the Library

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Electronic resources are popular at the library, both eBooks and Audiobooks. And while we like to make our patrons feel secure in being able to download either one to any kind of device (computer, phone, tablet etc.), it’s not always as straight forward as it should be. But trust me, originally, it was way, way more difficult.

When eBooks and Audiobooks first arrived through the Over Drive website, you needed to download a small program, register for an Adobe ID, have all of your computer equipment up to date, and then make sure you accepted all of the conditions when downloading your books. Of course, it also requires a library card number and PIN, both of which you can get from the library.  Sounds simple, right?

Next, once you had everything installed on your computer, it was simple enough to do a search and select a book. If you weren’t on high speed internet, it wasn’t impossible, but took a little more time to download, especially those audiobooks. But you could do that here at the library…providing you didn’t mind wiping everything off of your iPod when you began the download (yes, public access computers made things a bit tricky). Then, if everything went well, your book was downloaded into your program, where you could then plug in your iPod or eReader and transfer it over.  That could take a bit of doing, as well. Some of the devices required certain functions to happen in a particular order (ie…plug in the USB cord first to your device, then to your computer etc.).  And teaching people to drag and drop a book into Adobe Digital Editions (as well as helping them to navigate the software if it opened in a different configuration was always fun), the whole thing sort of lost its shine.

With the invention of tablets and apps in general, things have changed quite a bit. Now, with most newer devices, you can download a small program and the eBook or audiobook simply downloads straight into the app. No separate programs for each type of electronic resource, and not much in the way of registration (except for the Adobe ID, which they’ve now eliminated for new users!).  Yes, there are still people who are using their computers to listen to or read books, but many of us like the portability of smaller devices.

What remains a bit frustrating—-and something that’s difficult to explain to new users, especially when we tell them “it’s easy!”—–is that not everything goes smoothly. We could install the same apps on the same type of devices for five people in a row….and run into different problems with each one. Keep in mind, we all install different updates, run different programs that might interfere in some way, and purchase our devices at different times. What might be standard on the first issue of a tablet might be upgraded slightly in a few months, even though it is technically the same device. So, keep all of that in mind when downloading your electronic resources. It’s not always perfectly simple, but hopefully, we can get you there without many issues.

Similarly, any updates to the app or to your device might also render some new steps or a new look when using OverDrive. Have patience….if you experiment a bit, sometimes you’ll learn more about how to do things than coming in for help. But, we’re always here to give you some assistance, so please drop by anytime.  If it looks like it might be a difficult issue, you can always call and make an appointment with us so we can spend a bit more time.

If you haven’t been using electronic resources, why not start now?  Drop by the OverDrive website to get started!

Published in: on October 16, 2014 at 3:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Do You OverDrive?

Audiobooks and eBooks are a big part of our library collection, even though many of the titles are strictly digital and never actually come into the library building itself. But we have many readers (and listeners), who regularly use the OverDrive website or app to access these books and enjoy “reading” in a whole new way.  We love hearing the stories, from people who download audiobooks to listen to on their drive to and from work (library staff included), to people who choose eBooks when they’re going on vacation and don’t want to carry a stack of heavy books in their suitcases. They’re a wonderful way to get in some extra reading when you might not feel you have the time to spend on books.

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If you’ve been downloading eBooks or audiobooks to your computer for a while, you might not realize there is now a handy APP that you can use on your portable devices, such as tablets or phones.  The OverDrive Media Console App is available for both Apple products (iPhones, iPads etc., available from the Apple store), as well as for Android based products (from the Google Play store). The app is free and only takes a moment to download. Then, all you’ll need is your library card number, and a PIN that we’ve given to you and you’re all set! Gone are the days when you needed an Adobe ID, so new users, rejoice in the fact that you can now skip a much dreaded step!

While some people don’t enjoy reading on their phones because of the small display, audiobooks are really simple to access on a phone, and you can plug in your earbuds, or just listen using your phone’s speaker. They don’t take long to download, and if you use free Wi-fi access points, you won’t have to worry about paying for data charges. Give it a try!  Just pop into your library to get a card and a PIN, and start downloading books today!

http://downloadcentre.library.on.ca

 

Kindle Fire + Canadian Libraries = ♥

The Kindle Fire has just been released in Canada!  While many will not even care about this interesting news, the showy tablet has some bonuses for Canadian users….they can now use the library OverDrive app on a Kindle!!

fireThe Kindle Fire seems to be the only Android-based Kindle product, and therefore, allows library users access to books through the OverDrive app.  Apparently, you’ll need some account information (like Amazon info), an Adobe ID , and of course your library card number and PIN to download books. After that, you’re good to go.

So far, all of the other Kindles are not compatible with the Canadian Library version of OverDrive, but that may come at some point. For now, Canadian librarians are rejoicing (or cringing) as we add one more device to our line up of eBook/audiobook readers.

What’s Wrong?

This week, we found out that OverDrive (the great site we use for downloadable Audiobooks and eBooks), has some changes in store. They’re trying to make things as simple and fun as possible for people to use, so we can always expect some changes to the site. Recently, they upgraded their website so that the interface on the page makes the search experience better. And now, due to some changing license requirements, you might have a little trouble at first. Don’t panic, the fix is easy!

If you try to download an eBook or Audiobook this week, it may tell you that your device needs to be authorized.  Yes, we know you did that when setting everything up initially, but the license changes required OverDrive to deactivate all devices. All you’ll need to do is re-authorize your device.  This might mean clicking on a link that pops up and entering in your Adobe ID once again (usually, it’s your email and a PIN than you chose), or it might mean that you have to go to  the “LIBRARY” tab in your Adobe Digital Editions and click “authorize my computer”.

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So, no need to worry if you have issues in the next few weeks. It isn’t anything you’ve done, and the solution should be easy. You can always call us at the library if you aren’t sure.

Will They Take Your Books?

Recently, a Norwegian woman claimed Amazon wiped every book from her Kindle (remotely) and closed her account without a satisfactory explanation.  Amazon has always said they have the right to close user accounts when they feel someone has violated their agreement with the books they’ve purchased.  While many of us have faced similar problems with email or social media accounts after someone tried to access these accounts falsely, Amazon claims they looked into this and have associated her account with another one which had previously been blocked. I’m sure if someone looks into this further and decides her account was closed without merit, all of her books could be reloaded to her Kindle. Simple.  But it brings up some interesting questions about Amazon and the Kindle and the rights they have over eBooks.

After reading this article on the matter, it becomes clear that purchasing electronic books does not give us ownership over those books, only usership…if that’s a word. We can use the books the way we are supposed to (which means, read them), and hopefully not use them in other ways deemed improper.  When you purchase an actual hardcover book, you’re agreeing to the same things, really. You pay the money for the book,which is your agreement to the copyright that you will only read the book and not reproduce the book in any public format (without permission, of course).  Does that mean that no one has ever photocopied pages from a book to use in a presentation or assignment?  Probably not.  But what can booksellers do about that?  They can’t come back to a person who bought a book in their store and demand the book back simply because they heard the person read chapters out loud, for example, in public. Once they sell the book, it is up to the person who purchased it to follow the rules.

So how did Amazon KNOW  this person violated some part of their agreement? It makes me very uncomfortable to think that they are monitoring users through their Kindles somehow. We hear about this all the time with computers. It’s bad enough to think that someone knows your every move online, but to think that someone is keeping track of your reading is somewhat worse, isn’t it? And while the aspect of Amazon being able to upload books to a new Kindle after one is lost or stolen is marvelous, maybe there really should be better safeguards, such as a password, as was stated in the above article.

It’s possible that there’s much more to the story and why this person’s account was closed and her books revoked. In fact, I’m sure of it. But it sure gets you thinking about how something as simple as reading a book could possibly bring about an invasion of our so-called privacy.

What do YOU think?

Published in: on October 24, 2012 at 8:27 am  Comments (1)  
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Do You OverDrive?

While the majority of our patrons still come in to get books, many people are also taking advantage of the free eBooks and Audiobooks available at the OverDrive website. And with the upcoming holiday season upon us, we expect that usage to grow. So what are people reading on? It seems that eReaders are still very popular, but now people are expanding into the tablet format, so we’re excited to see where that goes.

There are always questions about what is available on the OverDrive website. While it’s not exactly like purchasing an eBook or audiobook online, where you get whatever book you want within seconds, there are many advantages to it.  Think of it as an extension of the library you visit in person–you can still get most of the books you want, but you might have to wait a few weeks if someone already has your book out.  Here are a few updated facts:

Right now, there are over 35, 000 titles available on OverDrive.  That includes eBooks, audiobooks, as well as music and video (which our library does not offer at this time, I’m afraid.) There are 26, 225 eBooks alone. While some bigger libraries offer extra copies to their patrons, Carleton Place has only single copies of each eBook available to borrow. Think of it like us purchasing books for our building–we wouldn’t buy 13 copies of a popular book because we simply wouldn’t have room on our shelves for everything.  And each copy that we own pays out royalties to the author and publisher etc.  If we purchased multiple copies of eBooks, we’d still have to pay for each copy so the authors etc., would earn their money.  While it seems like it should be something we could have an endless supply of (after all, it’s digital, it’s just a file…why couldn’t we have multiples on backup), we find that the waiting lists move fast and people can generally wait to read/listen to a book.

The people are OverDrive tell us that at any one time, 35 – 40% of the collection is out. That’s amazing when you think of it! And now, you can have up to 10 items on your holds/checkout list.  This is double what they used to offer, so it helps keep you in the loop.  Less time coming back to place holds and more time reading!  We love it! If you’re getting frustrated trying to find an available title to take out, don’t forget to try the “Advanced Search”.  You can choose your preferred genre, author and type of eBook, then select “show only titles available” and it will show you a list of items you can take out right now!  Fantastic, right?  If you’re having trouble with that, please drop by the library and we can show you how it’s done on one of our computers.

While many people are getting tablets, this requires some knowledge of your device (how to access WiFi etc), and a few easy steps to download the OverDrive app. Then,it’s as simple as getting an Adobe ID and the books drop right into your app. If you’re still using your computer to access eBooks, you might notice that Adobe Digital Editions has changed its layout as well.  They’ve made it easier for people who are sight impaired to use their screen readers (devices that read the books to them). So, while the look might have changed with Adobe Digital Editions 2.0 version, it still acts the same when reading your eBooks on your computer or transferring them to your device. Again, if you need any help, drop into the library and we can assist you.

It’s an exciting time for library users, and your new devices (for the most part) will work great on OverDrive. Don’t forget, you still need a library card and a PIN.  Drop in and we can get you started!

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