Sunday, 22 January 2012

Sunday January 22nd, 2012 Borrowing Library eBooks

The most popular questions at your Library this past month have been about eBooks. Chances are you or someone you know received an eBook reader, iPad or iPod touch for a holiday gift. In order to help you learn about borrowing eBooks from the Library we have a wealth of information available on our Web site.

Library eBooks are delivered to you from a Web site called OverDrive. OverDrive is service we share with a number of other Ontario public libraries. In addition to eBooks, OverDrive offers eAudiobooks and we are just getting in to music and video. The majority of the OverDrive collection is shared between all member libraries, but, we have been adding a local collection that only Thunder Bay Public Library card-holders can access.

You need your library card number (which starts with 293410...) and PIN to check out an eBook in OverDrive. If you don’t have a PIN simply stop by any Library location and the staff will be happy to help you set one up.

To get to OverDrive, go to the Library’s Web site (, and click on “OverDrive” under “QUICK LINKS”. At the top of that Web page you will see a rectangular graphic, which is the link to OverDrive.

Just below the link to OverDrive there are two helpful videos. The first one outlines the steps you need to take to download an eBook to an eBook reader, such as a Kobo, Sony or Nook. The second video demonstrates how to download Adobe Digital Editions, which is free software. The software acts as a bridge between OverDrive content and your eBook reader.

Basically, you download eBooks from OverDrive to Adobe Digital Editions, and then transfer them to your eBook reader. When your eBook reader is connected to your computer it will be listed in the Adobe Digital Editions menu. Simply drag the cover of the book you want to transfer to your eBook reader. The eBook actually is loaded on to your eBook reader after you disconnect it from your computer. To me, that is the magical part of the process!

If you have an iPad, iPod touch or Kobo Vox eBook reader, there are links to instruction sheets further down the page, which outline how to get the OverDrive App. On these devices you use the App, combined with a Wifi connection, to access OverDrive.

OverDrive itself has a great deal of helpful “help” resources as well. One of these is the “Device Resource Centre” which lists compatible and non-compatible devices. Some eBook readers, like the Kindle, are not currently compatible with OverDrive in Canada. OverDrive’s help resources may be found on the top of the right hand menu of any page in OverDrive.

Your Library’s Web site has an “OverDrive FAQ” page on which you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions about library eBooks. If you’re having a problem with eBooks, this is the place to look!

One of the FAQs outlines how to find eBooks that are available to be checked out. Typically there are about 2,000 eBooks available at any time. In order to find these titles, use the Advanced Search in OverDrive. In Advanced Search you can set the “Format” to “Adobe ePub eBook” and also select the “Only show titles with copies available” option. The results will be a list of eBooks you can browse through and check out.

OverDrive recently added a collection of copyright-free eBooks. This collection includes classics like Mrs. Beaton’s Book of Household Management, Tom Sawyer and an 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Certainly some gems to explore! These copyright-free eBooks are not counted as part of OverDrive’s five-item check out limit, and, they can be kept by you forever after downloading. You can find this collection from the link near the bottom of the left-hand menu in OverDrive which says “Additional eBooks. Always Available.”

Joanna Aegard

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