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?