Movies are Taking Over.

According to Time Magazine this week, Netflix accounts for more than 37% of downstream Internet traffic. That means more than a third of the entire internet is being taken up by people watching movies and TV through Netflix. Is the Internet changing?

movie nightAt the library, we are finding parallels. A large portion of our circulation is now movies, as well as eBooks and Audiobook downloads. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t reading, or that they aren’t visiting the library, it just means that they’re doing more from home, and using the library as a source of entertainment, as well as information.

This isn’t bad for libraries, so don’t panic. We aren’t becoming movie stores. It’s just a different way people are accessing things they are interested in, and we’re lucky to be able to provide these items to the public free of charge. If anything, it’s making the library more relevant to our patrons instead of less relevant.

So, what will you be downloading this weekend?

 

eReaders. How We Love to Hate Them.

Don’t get me wrong, most of the staff at our library use electronic devices to access eBooks and audiobooks from the OverDrive site, and we’ll rave about it to anyone who will listen. But do we love dedicated eReaders? Not really. And as it turns out, only a small portion of people who use them actually like them.

ereaderWhen eReaders first came on the scene, it was predominantly an Amazon market. The Kindle was the only eReader for many people, and because they were expensive, and only allowed people to read books that they purchased, only a select few were instantly in love.

Then came an explosion of eReaders put out by a variety of companies. These allowed you to access books from other places besides Amazon, and *cue the trumpets*, you could now also download FREE eBooks from your library! WOW!  We were overwhelmed by people purchasing eReaders for themselves and their families (mostly for elderly parents who might not be able to get to the library as easily as others), and it was decidedly frustrating for us in the library. The eReaders were not simple to use, not if you wanted to download free books from the OverDrive website. Everyone had different devices, different computers and different problems. We could spend hours with a patron trying to get them set up, only to face the probability that they’d be back in a few weeks, still not sure how to do the entire process on their own. It was especially difficult that first year as many people bought eReaders for their parents at Christmas, and then left them with the instructions to “go to the library to have it set up”. For many of these people, computers were difficult enough to use, and to add a device was more than frustrating. I think we had a lot of disappointed patrons that winter.

Now, after several years, there are more devices on the market, and fewer problems. How is that possible? Apps, my friend……APPS.

People who want to enjoy eBooks and audiobooks are no longer forced to buy a device that only allows them to read books on it. Now, phones, tablets and many of the eReaders themselves have wi-fi and use apps so that users can read books, surf the net, text, check Facebook, take photos for Instagram and tweet….all while they listen to a book or download their next ten books for their vacation. They are multi-purpose devices, and that’s exactly the way eReading needed to go.  They are much easier to use, have a simple set-up for OverDrive, and people can usually download a book and be on their way in minutes, rather than have an extensive session at the library to get them going. We love them….and still loathe them, all at the same time.

Kindles, while still one of the most popular devices on the market, are not compatible with OverDrive in Canada. Well, not most of the Kindles, anyway. (The Kindle Fire is more of a tablet which does use apps, and therefore, allows you to access OverDrive.) This is sad news for people who have done research and found the product that seems to have the most positive reviews will not work for them if they want free eBooks and audiobooks. In the US, library patrons can access OverDrive ebooks through their libraries due to a program used to allow them to be compatible, but so far, it hasn’t crossed the border. Are there bigger issues that aren’t being addressed?  I’m not sure, but I guess we’ll deal with that when the time comes.

Now, though, Kindle has put out a new device that they are saying is BETTER THAN BOOKS.  Better than books????? What? The Kindle Voyage claims to be so good, you’ll forget you’re reading on an electronic device. The “paper” is so realistic, it is easy on your eyes, and in your hands, and will certainly make you a convert. But what’s so special? Have you ever read an enormous book with multiple characters that are difficult to keep track of? The Kindle Voyage has a simple pop up that will display the characters to remind you, let you tap a word to look it up in the dictionary, allow you to flip to footnotes and back easily, and also uses new technology that puts turning the pages right under where your fingers naturally rest when holding the device. No more swiping.

I’m sure it’s wonderful. I’m sure it will revolutionize reading for many people. How could it not? Who wouldn’t want to be able to carry around thousands of books in the palm of your hand? Who wouldn’t want to be able to download the newest best-seller from their favourite author the second it comes out on the market? eBooks and eReaders are truly wonderful for that. And Kindles aren’t the only devices that will do this.

But will the frustrations from not being able to access books from your library, or having to re-charge your device simply to finish that book, or losing your entire collection when you drop your device on a hard floor (or in the bathtub), override the old hardcover? Probably not. We love eBooks and audiobooks and all that they provide to us. We just don’t always love the downsides that come with the devices.

How about you? Let us know…do you prefer eBooks over the real deal? Do you mix it up?

 

Technology at the Library

ebooksgraphic

 

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!

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

 

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”.

adobe_digital_editions_11

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?