The Green Serial

king.jpgIt was 20 years ago that Stephen King released his now famous book THE GREEN MILE in a monthly serial format. Readers had to wait for the next tiny chapter to be published…or until the entire book was put together into one novel…but they didn’t seem to mind. It was an old way of releasing a book, but new to most of King’s fans. And boy, did we read!

Now, to mark the 20th anniversary of the wildly successful book, S & S/Scribner is taking it all back and re-releasing the book in serial format to a new set of readers, and this time they’re going digital!  THE GREEN MILE is one of the many books that appeals to readers who might not otherwise be fans of Stephen King (doesn’t everyone think all he writes is horror?), and these small chapters in eBook format will appeal to readers who want something short to read, but feel like they’re taking part in something bigger.

Right now, you can read a sample of the first chapter THE TWO DEAD GIRLS, on OverDrive.

What do YOU think of serials?

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!)

Frivolous Friday!

Once again, it’s Frivolous Friday, and today is all about smells. One of the funny things you hear people say lately is that eBooks just don’t have that same smell as an actual book. Of course, now there are candles, and perfumes you can buy to duplicate that smell (although I can’t picture myself getting out an air freshener just before reading a book on my phone and spraying it around so I’ll feel more libraryish). But it seems that books are not the only smells that are disappearing.

Recently, Mental Floss did a great post on “11 Smells That are Slowly Disappearing” due to changes in how we live, and it is fascinating! How many odors–like the smell of phone books–are almost gone, that you can bring to the forefront of your memory right now?

20151124_121934Almost all of these were easily conjurable for me, except maybe the cap gun. What about you? And are there other smells you can think of that are almost gone, simply because we have new ways of doing things? Let us know! Now we’re thinking……

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!

 

Check Out a Skill!

20150320_161253We’re getting ready for something interesting in April. Not everyone is technologically-savvy, so we’ve decided to offer a “Check Out a Skill” week at the library. From April 13 -24, we’re offering half-hour sessions with one of our skill experts.  Learn to use Pinterest or Twitter, open up an email account, or finally get on Facebook and learn how to use it!

We’re taking registrations now, so give us a call. No “skill” is too simple to learn, and it’s the perfect time to learn how to use that new device (or that old one). Where else could you get this for free?  No where! Only at your library.

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!