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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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.!