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.

ebooks

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

 

OverDrive Problems

20130923100608606If you’re one of the many people that use OverDrive to download books, and you use an Apple product, such as the iPad, you might have noticed a BIG problem this weekend. After Apple released the iOS7 upgrade late last week, the OverDrive app was suddenly unable to open a DRM-protected ebook.

If you downloaded an eBook on the weekend and have upgraded your Apple device to the iOS7, the OverDrive people are working on the problem, but have suggested a few things to help.

#1.  Try re-authenticating the app with your Adobe ID.

#2.  If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may have to uninstall and then reinstall the OverDrive app.  At that point, authenticate the app with your previous Adobe ID and this should get you up and running again.

Audiobook users shouldn’t notice a problem, unless not all of the chapters were downloaded prior to the Apple update.  If that’s the case, you’ll receive an error message when you try to download the last chapters. Just try downloading the entire audiobook again, and this should solve your issues.

Hopefully, things will be up and running again smoothly soon.  This won’t affect any new users to OverDrive who now have the new iOS7 upgrade.

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.

Read the Book, Listen to the Audio

We have a lot of people who use the library exclusively for audiobooks. They’re a great way to get some “reading” in if you travel, or if you have sight problems.  They’re also fun to use when working out, and make the time pass quickly. And we’re adding more to our collection at the earlibrary everyday (or you can use OverDrive and download free audiobooks!)

If you’ve never listened to an audiobook, you’re in for a treat.  While most don’t contain sound effects or music, many are read by actors who really make the stories come to life. And often, if you find it difficult to get into an actual book, an audiobook can change all that.

But here’s something you may not have thought of: listening to an audiobook either before or after reading the book. If you have reluctant readers at home, using audiobooks with children can make a huge difference. Children love to revisit their favourite stories, so popping in an audiobook version of Charlotte’s Web, let’s say, can be great incentive for the child that just doesn’t feel like he can make the transition to larger chapter books. If they can listen and follow along in the book, even better. It’s just another way to use audiobooks to promote reading.

Drop in to see the great audiobooks we have for all ages!

Blink a book?

Google Glass

Google Glass (Photo credit: Stuck in Customs)

Ereaders and eBooks are a commonplace thing now. Just about everyone has a smartphone, tablet or computer and can access eBooks in some format or other. We see a steady stream of eBooks being taken “out” of our library through OverDrive, and those are just our patrons who use the free eBooks. There are probably plenty more patrons who purchase eBooks as well. It’s a great way to read books, whether you use it for travel or just an easy way to pick up that 400-pager before bed.

Recently, I read an article wondering about the coming of hands-free books and how it would impact our society. Author and social media manager at CNET, Nathan Bransford, had an idea about the new Google Glass device and the possibilities of hands-free books.  Haven’t heard of  Google Glass? You can read more here, but essentially, they are an experimental device–a wearable computer–that will act as a recording device, a camera, an information center and entertainment piece….all under the guise of a simple pair of glasses.  The Google Glass is still in the development stages, but Google has started a project where it is loaning out the glasses to people who presented them with creative ideas about how they would use them.  So, we’ll have to see if this moves to a stage where everyone can purchase a pair and start using them!

Now, the concept of reading on the Google Glass is something Mr. Bransford was concerned about, but for different reasons.  The viewing area is apparently quite small, and wouldn’t work well for doing a lot of reading.  He was most excited about the thought of being able to read (hands-free) while walking or traveling on the train. It really is an interesting concept, one where you might control flipping the pages with a blink of an eye or some other simple gesture. 

But as some of his readers pointed out, there are implicit dangers here. Of course, we’re thinking of using this as a reading device in the best possible ways, but what about people who will try to read while driving? (You know someone will do this!) Even the idea of reading while walking could have HUGE problems, with people not being aware enough of their surroundings already when they walk with iPods or other listening devices etc. There are just so many applications where using the glasses would be dangerous.

The Google Glass is very well designed, so much so that it isn’t all that noticeable when a person has them  on.  They could easily be mistaken for a regular pair of glasses. The possibilities here for reading are probably very real, and it’s only a matter of time before someone develops an idea to make books available for people who will own them. But along with using common sense, there should probably be some safeguards so that they won’t be misused. What do you think?  Would reading a book hands-free using a device like Google Glass be something you’d want to try?

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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