Travel During the Holidays

Many people travel over the holidays, and while the idea might be festive and cheery, the reality is often stressful and full of regret. This year, prep a little to save yourself some heartache.

A few good travel ideas to make your holiday enjoyable:

If You’re Driving:

Rent a car, or make sure your vehicle is safe enough to drive. Stock your trunk with some essentials like a blanket, flares, bottled water and a bit of food, jumper cables, an inflated spare tire, and a few basic tools.

Have lots of audio options at the ready. Stock your phone with lots of downloaded audiobooks from the library, or bring along some CDs. (We have lots of both. Use Libby for the downloads, or drop by the library for a great selection of audiobooks.) Find a great podcast, and some new music, and make sure you have cables to either connect your phone while in your car, or to charge it when you get to your destination. In fact, bring along TWO sets of phone chargers. You never know when you might leave one on a bedside table at a hotel, or lose one in all the shuffle.

Stock your glove compartment with extra change for tolls, food, or other items you might not be expecting. Bring wet wipes and kleenex (and a roll of toilet paper if you dare).

Don’t forget to bring along some used books from our sale table. You don’t have to worry if you leave them at your destination.

If You’re Flying:

Download ebooks and audiobooks from Libby to make your carry on super light. Not sure how to access our simple download service? Get your library card, PIN, and it’s easy to set up. Download your items before you leave so that you don’t have to eat up your data plan.

Want movies or music to listen to? Hoopla is also a fun option. You can have four items out at a time—movies, music, ebooks or audiobooks—and you don’t have to worry about late fines over the holidays. Not sure what Hoopla is all about? You can find everything you need to know right on our website!

Be a good guest:

If you’re staying with family or friends over the holiday, let them know when you expect to arrive—and when you plan on leaving. A few simple details makes it easier on everyone.

Make your bed every day, and keep your guest room neat and tidy.

Why not bring along a gift for your host? We have some great books for sale at the library as Christmas gifts.

Don’t forget:

We’re closed occasionally over the holidays, but if you forget to renew your items, you can still do it online. All you need is your library card and PIN. And if you forget to bring that, you can always call us and leave a message on our answering machine, day or night. When we’re back in the library, we’ll take care of the updates for you. (613) 257-2702

Hopefully, with a little bit of advance preparation, your holiday will be smooth and festive.!

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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?

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?

#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?

Books vs eBooks

recite-1l27nz1Such a true statement, and yet, people often ask us if we’re seeing a decline in readers of actual books at the library. It’s actually quite a balanced answer: people who read traditional books are often also reading eBooks. If the world had been taken over by eBooks, we would have seen huge evidence of that by now, I think.

However, that being said, there is an interesting statistic that has come up recently regarding people who do download eBooks. It seems that more and more people are purchasing cheap eBooks…and yet, not reading them.

The people at Kobo delved into the statistics last year, and found that 60% of eBooks sold through their company were never even opened. Sixty percent. That’s a lot of books. And the more expensive the book was to begin with, the more likely someone would at least open it. So, are cheap books really benefiting anyone?The trend seems to be on buying these digital books when they’re offered as promotions, but maybe it’s simply the old adage “out of sight, out of mind”, that makes people ignore the books once purchased. They’re not sitting out in plain sight on our shelves as eBooks, and so, tend to be forgotten.

This could be why Amazon’s new plan to pay authors for the number of pages read–instead of for the entire book sold–is bothering a lot of people. If readers are downloading books because they are being offered at a reduced rate…and then not reading them at all, the authors will lose out. Effectively, it looks like Amazon will be the big winner here.

Unless the world and environment deems we cannot physically make books anymore, I think the digital world of reading, and the traditional world will not collide or overrun one another.

Have you ever purchased an eBook and not read it?

Technology at the Library

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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!