eReader, Tablet, Phone, Computer? Help!

It’s that time again…time to answer all those burning questions about eReaders. It seems like every year, we go through a cycle of time where people turn up with new devices and need help downloading books. Maybe it’s the summer, when people are traveling and need the ability to take multiple books with them without the extra weight. Or maybe it’s the holidays, when well-meaning family or friends purchase those devices as gifts, and then go happily back to their lives, leaving their recipient with millions of questions on how to use the thing. Whatever the reason, we have a few suggestions.

While we can’t recommend specific devices, we can steer you toward the easiest options for YOU.

I want to be able to read an eBook on a device outside in the bright sunshine.

Then an eReader with some sort of real paper technology is what you’re looking for. Tablets aren’t really capable, and some eReaders just don’t use the technology. But if you’re only interested in being able to read on the beach, do your research and find a device that mimics paper while lighting it enough that you can read while outside. They’re out there, but not on all devices.

I want to listen to audibooks while I’m at the gym.

You have several options. The easiest one is to download an app onto your cell phone or tablet and plug in the earphones. We have some great free apps for downloading audiobooks—Libby (formerly OverDrive), and Hoopla are both available in your app stores, require minimal setup, and you can be listening in minutes!

You can also download audiobooks to your computer, and transfer them to some eReaders that have MP3 capabilities. This option is rather involved (a specific, kind of antiquated program to help you transfer the items, a computer, and your eReader). It’s a little tricky. If you’re not into tricky, try another option. See above.

I want to read eBooks and listen to audiobooks on something other than my computer. And, oh, I’m over 40 and suddenly can’t read any fonts smaller than 14 point.

Don’t go the cell phone route. Even when you can pinch open a page to make it larger, you’ll only have a few words on your screen, and that can be annoying. You might be able to swing an eReader, which will help you make the font larger, but it’s also a bit tricky to download books (see above). What you need is a tablet!

You can do all of these things on a tablet, and you don’t need to purchase an expensive one to do it. As long as your tablet can download apps, you’re good to go. While the app won’t necessarily let you make the font larger, you’ll have plenty of screen to open the books on without sacrificing space. Try to aim for the largest screen you can, if you’re going to do eBooks specifically. But if you’re going for audibooks, you can size down for prize and go for the best deal. It’ll work great!

I want to be able to cast my audiobooks using Alexa or Google Home, or listen to them in the car on bluetooth.

For both of these, you’ll need special devices. To listen to audibooks using your Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Home, you need a subscription to Audible.ca. Libby and Hoopla books don’t work quite yet, although Hoopla might have something coming in the future.

To listen to audibooks in your car, you have to have Bluetooth installed in your car, and set the bluetooth to “on” on your phone. Then, you should be able to play your audiobooks through your car speakers just fine.

We love audiobooks and eBooks through both of our wonderful programs, but you do need to think about what you want your device to do before purchasing something to make sure you get the most out of it!

And ALL of your downloads from Libby and Hoopla count toward our circulation, so just because you might not be coming to the library as often for physical books doesn’t mean you aren’t moving our circulation along. Keep reading and keep listening! We love our patrons!

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Audiobooks & Romance

If you love audiobooks, chances are you’ve thought about trying Audible, which now has a Canadian counterpart to help ease the pricing differences. But as with a lot of audio choices, romance has been a bit on the back burner.

Audible Romance allows readers to have access to over ten thousand romance audiobooks, either through their subscriptions with a simple add on price of $6.95 a month, or as a stand-alone service for $14.95 US/month. This is a great deal if you love audiobooks, and especially, romance.

While services such as HOOPLA and LIBBY are provided through libraries, Audible is a different type of structure, allowing users one book per month with their subscription, and deals on purchasing other titles. The best part is that users get to keep their books, and they’re all optimized to use in the Audible app.

Even better? The new Audible Romance category offers a “Take Me to the Good Part” feature, which allows listeners to fast forward to some of the most memorable parts of the book without having to wade through “boring” story. Interesting.

Do you love audiobooks? How do you listen?

Not enough books in the world?

This is an interesting concept, but I wonder if it’s necessary. Audible, a subscription audiobook service, has been making such a profit, it just announced that it is going to commission playwrites to write new works for it’s listeners. The $5 million dollar fund will be used worldwide to have playwrites develop one and two-person works that showcase powerful performances of the written word. If you’ve ever listened to a great audiobook—or one that was performed poorly—you’ll know that this could be really exciting for listeners. However, it makes me wonder if Audible thinks there just aren’t enough good books being written now that they have to go outside of the literary world for new material.But, on the other hand, this is fantastic news for those creative playwrites doing amazing one-person work. It’s a great chance to get their work out there, and hopefully develop new ties to arts communities. It might also get their work out there to people who wouldn’t normally go to plays. You can read the whole article about the fund here.

Fun idea, or not necessary? What do you think?

New Device? Use OverDrive!

warm-up-with-an-audiobookDid you know that your new phone or tablet can be used for reading? Of course! Download the OverDrive app, and you’re on your way to reading audiobooks and ebooks without leaving the house. All you need is your library card and PIN.

Pop over to our library website and scroll to the bottom of the page. Click on the OverDrive link and follow the instructions for downloading and app and signing in. It’s easy, and you’ll be downloading eBooks and audiobooks in minutes.

If you have trouble, drop by the library to get your PIN, register with our tech-spert Caroline for some one-on-one training, or ask one of the staff to get your started. There are thousands of eBooks and audiobooks on OverDrive for the whole family. And it’s FREE with your library card. Isn’t that the best present of all?

#FairEbookPrices

You may be one of our library users who reads eBooks on OverDrive. Libraries are big promoters of reading, both regular books and eBooks, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to provide readers with enough new eBooks to satisfy the demand. Why? Libraries are charged 3-5 times more for eBooks than regular consumers, simply because publishers believe that we have a larger usage of these books than the average consumer. Is that fair? Libraries don’t think so, and neither should you.

Ce49kP_W8AQtQTzRecently, several key members of the Toronto Public Library, Ottawa Public Library, and Edmonton Public Library held a Twitter Chat to discuss this unfair pricing model, and then posted the chat on Storify.

It’s an interesting read, resulting in a few really good points:

  • even if you don’t read eBooks, this tough pricing model affects your library’s budget for buying other materials
  • this type of overpricing is unsustainable, even for libraries belonging to a consortia that allows us to stretch our budgets further
  • Independent eBook publishers have been leaders in providing reasonable pricing for libraries, but big publishers are still waging war
  • municipal governments are now joining in the fight to help libraries, but more needs to be done, especially if your local government isn’t aware of the problem

Yes, it’s true that publishers and authors need to be paid for the license just as they would for a hard copy book. Libraries can’t afford to purchase 26 copies of one book, and yet eBooks can be distributed repeatedly, giving the impression that publishers are not being paid for the number of people reading. It is simply not true.

Yes, libraries are charged more for lending fees for a book, but consider that libraries will often purchase an eBook, an audiobook, and regular print copy and a large print copy of ONE book.  And they do this multiple times. Therefore, the author and publisher are being paid for these sales, which might be more than they would have sold without a library purchase. Sometimes, libraries purchase books that are not even read. In the end, we hope it all evens out…both for us, our patrons, and the publishers.

Click on the photo above, or the link, to read the whole Twitter chat (start at the top and work through to the bottom if you’re not used to this type of format). And to find out more about eBook pricing, visit fairpricingforlibraries.org. 

What do you think about this issue?

Audiobooks and more

Spring into eBooks 2_404x404Audiobooks and eBooks are always on our minds at the library. You can access the free digital collection from our OverDrive partnership simply by having a library card and PIN number. If you have a tablet, phone, eReader, or computer, there are plenty of ways to download a book and either listen, or read. It’s easy, and you’ll get addicted to it, we promise!

If you use a device that has apps, download the OverDrive app from Google Play, or the App Store, install it and sign up, and all you’ll need now is your library card and PIN.  All of the great books you take out will download right into your app, where you can read offline, or use a browser to access your checkouts. Yes, you can do this from anywhere in the world, at any time–day or night.

Audiobooks are great for people who work out, for those with long commutes, and for people who have a busy lifestyle. Listen on the go and never miss out on that great new book everyone is talking about. Place a hold if it isn’t available right away, and the folks at OverDrive will email you when it becomes available for you. Easy, right?

If you prefer to read instead of listen, eBooks are a favourite of many of our patrons. You can have dozens of books on your device at once, travel and not have to worry about overdue books, and enjoy bonus features to reading, such as virtual bookmarks, syncing to more than one device in the middle of reading, a dictionary, and much more. And it only takes a few seconds to download an eBook. Have you tried it yet?

If you have an older eReader, don’t worry, most of the devices are still supported. You might need to use your computer to facilitate the download, but you can still read with ease on your eReader and not have to worry about lugging around heavy books. Some of the eReaders even come with special features that allow you to read at night, or take away the harmful effects of reading an electronic device before trying to sleep.

If you want to know more about eBooks and Audiobooks on OverDrive, drop by the library for a quick demo, or take home some information to get started. You’ll be reading up a storm before you know it! (Sorry about the storm reference….we’re tired of them, too!)

Tech Thursdays!

techAre you having trouble figuring out your email? Finding that new tablet confusing? Wanting to learn how to download eBooks or Audiobooks? We can help!

We’re now offering “Tech Thursdays at the Library!” Sign up for a one-on-one session, and we show you the basics, or help you get past that stumbling block. Give us a call to reserve your space with Caroline, starting today!