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”.


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!

Audiobooks. Do you listen?

We have a pretty good collection of audiobooks in the library and of course, we have audiobooks available for download on OverDrive. For many of our patrons who have visual impairments, we also offer a service called talking books (just a different series of audiobooks).  Audiobooks are becoming really popular as a different way to get a book fix.  But what are the pros and cons and why do people listen?

Often, people choose audiobooks as a way to pass the time while traveling or working out. It’s great to be able to get your mind on something else while on the treadmill or sitting in traffic during rush hour. Some people simply like another way to access books, often dividing their time between paper books and audiobooks. You can cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner while listening to an audiobook, for example!

But what are the down sides to audiobooks?  We’ve heard people say they don’t like authors reading their own books because they aren’t animated enough. Some people don’t like to listen to men reading, while others will not listen to women reading the books (personal preferences, I’m sure).  And we know a certain librarian who cannot listen to audio books while driving, simply because she becomes too involved.

Recently, however, one of our patrons mentioned she LOVED a particular book she picked up on audio because the person reading it was so engaging.  She couldn’t stop listening!  But, she mentioned that had she picked this up in print format, she probably wouldn’t have finished it because the subject matter was so dark.  It turns out, some books are better when you listen to them!

This is probably the same reason so many of us grow up wanting bedtime stories when we’re kids….the draw of listening to that story unfold, using nothing more than our imaginations, is amazing! It’s why old time radio dramas were so popular back in the day as well. We can’t get enough of stories!

So, if you listen to audiobooks, where do you listen to them and why?  We’d love to know!

Published in: on August 14, 2012 at 8:17 am  Comments (1)  
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Ebooks, audiobooks and technology at the library

My sister-in-law works at a library in Northern Alberta and while she was visiting recently, we were talking about our libraries and how things are done in both places.  One common issue we noticed is that while technology at the library is a great step forward…..there has to be a learning curve as well as expectations from the public. Not only is staff expected to know everything about new technologies that are being used withing the library (such as eBooks, audiobooks and, but many patrons also seem to expect us to be able to teach them as well, and it isn’t always possible.

When we started with audiobooks and eBooks here at our library, we all received a small virtual training session.  Yes, virtual….meaning we participated in a webinar online.  No hands on training, no devices to try.  We were given the basics and had to go from there. Now, we were lucky enough that some of us had iPods and eBook readers so we could experiment at home.  But not everyone has one, so while the staff was trained, a few have never used these devices before.  You can see how tricky this might be.  It would be like someone learning how to drive by watching a video and then being expected to teach others in an actual car. (Okay, maybe not as lethal, but you get the picture.) So you can see  how tricky this is for us.

Secondly, we’re finding that many people who want to download eBooks and Audiobooks are not well versed on their computers and certainly have no experience using these devices, which makes the experience frustrating for all of us. While we can hopefully help someone figure out how to eventually get the books onto their systems (everyone has different settings and devices), we can’t always spend as much time as they need and we can’t do it repeatedly. That means a little experimentation at home is required. Go to our help pages on this blog when first setting up. Visit the help pages on the OverDrive website to see if you can solve the problem that way.  Or ask someone (grab just about any young person you know…they’ll probably do it in three seconds!) to help you in your own environment. And write it down.  I can’t stress that enough….if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing…..write it down, step by step, when someone shows you.  That’ll make a big difference.

As for, not all of us know every in and out of the site (not everyone has done genealogy research).  While most of us can help you figure out how to print off that great photo or census, the site is limited by what it can do.  We might be able to make the photo larger, but not necessarily clearer, and while you’d love to have all the data from the link included, sometimes it will just print the photo and that’s all. It’s not our fault if they change the website on occasion. We didn’t do anything to make them change things, so getting frustrated with the staff won’t help. Again, take your time, learn how to work the computer and write things down so that you can do it again next time. We don’t always have the time to spend with someone if we’re really busy.

We want this to be a fun and useful for all involved because eBooks and Audiobooks  and Ancestry are a wonderful addition to the library. But keep in mind that some of the work has to be done on your end, too. Know a much as you can about your computer and your device before bringing it in (taking it out of the box at the library isn’t going to help either of us). Prepare to get frustrated, but trust us that it gets easier. And while we encourage you to come in with questions, give it a try before you walk in with all your equipment. And please don’t get upset with us if we can’t figure it out in three seconds. Remember….this is new to us, too.


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