So how can I put library books on my Kindle™?
But that’s why I bought it.
That stinks. We’re sorry to hear that.
You’re kidding, right?
Unfortunately, no. At the moment, Amazon doesn’t allow libraries to purchase books for the Kindle™. (But lately we’ve heard rumors that things might change…keep your eyes peeled for that announcement!) Until then, however, we have lots of digital downloads for other devices, like the Nook™, the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch™, the Sony Reader™, the Pandigital™, with more being added all the time. We also have downloads for your computer and mp3 player.
Okay, so what’s a digital download?
Digital downloads come in different formats, but they’re all basically electronic versions of the same kinds of things you would check out in a library–books, audiobooks, videos, and/or music.
The difference is, the materials are online so you don’t have to go into the library to get them; you just download them onto your computer. Built-in software automatically checks the files back in when the checkout period ends, so you never have to worry about overdue fines, or lost items, or anything like that.
Since you get the books from the internet, digital downloads are a way to use the library 24-hours a day, from pretty much anywhere.
What’s great about digital books is their portability and convenience. All you need is a device to use, and you can have tons of books with you wherever you go.
Michael just found out his sister, brother-in-law, and nephew are going to stay in Bulgaria another year, so he flew out to go see them for the holidays. He loaded up his laptop with ebooks and burned through 12 of James Patterson’s finest on the flight out.
Erin likes to load up fluff novels and reads them on her smartphone when she has a free moment. She doesn’t get as much time to read as she would like, so she enjoys being able to squeeze in some recreational reading.
Sean carries his Nook™ with him wherever he goes, and has discovered that he actually is reading a lot more since he brings out his Nook™ for found moments throughout the day: waiting in line, waiting when his his friends are late to meet him, riding the bus, or before classes when the professor hasn’t arrived yet. And because his device is so lightweight, he’s even started reading in the bathtub. Don’t tell anyone, though; he’s a little shy about it.
Library eBooks: the good news
- They’re free.
- You can borrow without driving to the library.
- They check themselves in automatically — no late fees!
- Compatible with many eReaders (but not the Kindle™ yet).
- Have a smartphone or tablet? There’s an OverDrive app that saves a big step, and you won’t need a computer.
Library eBooks: the not-so-good news
- As we said above, Kindles™ are not yet compatible with the only eBook formats libraries can buy.
- There is more than one eBook format, and not all formats work with all eReaders.
- Most library eBooks are “locked” so you can’t share them with friends.
- Library eBooks may not be available immediately if someone else has the one you want checked out.
- The first time, you’ll need to download Adobe Digital Editions and create an account.
- Unless your eReader is a smartphone or tablet you’ll need a computer and your eReader for all downloads.
What you’re about to click on is a link to a Prezi presentation. What’s a Prezi? It’s a presentation tool that allows you to follow the text as it moves, turns, and zooms. If you haven’t used it before, here’s what you do:
- Click on the Play button (in the box below) to start it.
- Once the Prezi is loaded, click again on the “Play” button each time you want to move forward through the slides.
- When you get to the end and the Play button disappears, scroll down to the “Discovery Exercise” below the Prezi to get back to the class. That’s it! No, really that’s all there is to it. Enjoy.
Not working for you? Here are some Prezi alternatives:
- Are you using an iPhone, iPod or iPad? Download the free Prezi Viewer app and go to the digital downloads Prezi online, then return to this blog when you’re finished.
- Is the Prezi too zoom-y? You can also view the Digital Downloads Prezi as a PDF, which has no motion.
Use OverDrive to download an eBook or an audiobook. Whichever you want. The difference might seem pretty obvious, but for the sake of total disclosure let’s nail down some definitions:
- is a book you read on your computer screen. It’s like a printed book except without—well, you get the idea. If you have a compatible eReader, you can transfer the ebook to your device and read it on that.
- is a book you listen to on your computer. It’s like a book on CD, except without the CD. If you have an MP3 player, you can transfer the audiobook to your device and listen to it on that.
Find something you like
The first step is to get to the OverDrive homepage. There’s a handy link on the library’s website; your first task is to find that link. (Hint, hint, start here: http://www.library.pima.gov/ and look for “Downloadable Media.”)
Once you get in, you’ll see some of the titles that are available. You can browse around, or use the search box if you’re looking for something particular. You might see videos, audiobooks, and/or ebooks available to check out.
Take a look around and find a book that’s available. If a copy of the book is available, you’ll see a link that says “Add to eBag.”
If it’s checked out to someone else, the link will say “Place a Reserve.”
Once you find an audiobook or eBook that you want, check it out. You’ll have to put the book in your eBag, then proceed to the checkout. As with any book from the library, you’ll need your library card to check it out.
Now here’s where things get tricky! In order to make the book work on your computer, you’re going to have to install some software. (cue scary music…)
Ok, it’s really not that bad. But you will need different software for audiobooks than you do for eBooks. Let’s start with the audiobooks. If you checked out an eBook, you can skip down to the next section. It’s fine if you want to miss out on all the audiobook secrets contained here. Go ahead, move along, we’ll wait…
Still here? Ok, then let’s talk about:
For Audiobooks Only: How to Install OverDrive Media Console. You need this software to open audiobooks from OverDrive, because the files are protected with a code called DRM, to protect the copyright. Not only does OverDrive Media Console get you past the DRM, it also gives you a handy piece of software for playing the books, transferring them to portable devices, or even downloading parts of the book if you didn’t get it all the first time. Installing OverDrive Media Console is a one-time process, but you have to do it before you can download your OverDrive audiobooks.
- Go to the library’s Digital Downloads page, http://pima.lib.overdrive.com/
- On the left side of your screen, look for the words “Software Download.” (Hint: it’s right up near the top.)
- Click the link that says “OverDrive Media Console.”
- Choose which version of the Media Console you want. There’s a different version depending on whether you’re using a Mac, a Windows PC, or a mobile device that runs apps. Click the “Download Now” button.
- Run the install program to put OverDrive Media Console on your computer.
If you installed the console on your PC or your Mac, you’ll need to do one more thing:
- Go to the Media Console ikon on your computer, and open the program.
- At the top, click on “Tools.”
- From the menu that appears, click “Windows Media Player security upgrade.”
- Click the button to run the upgrade.
That’s it! You can now jump ahead to Step #6 in our discovery exercise. But if you’re the curious sort, you might want to stick around and look at:
For eBooks: How to Install Adobe Digital Editions. Thankfully, you’ll only need to do this once per computer. You need this software to open eBooks from OverDrive because the files are protected with a code called DRM, to protect the copyright. Not only does Adobe Digital Editions get you past the DRM, it also gives you a handy piece of software for viewing the books, transferring them to portable devices, and even checking them in early if you’re a really fast reader (or if the book is a real snoozer). Installing Adobe Digital Editions is a one-time process, but you have to do it before you can download your OverDrive eBooks.
- On the left side of your screen, look for the words “Software Download.” (Hint: it’s right up near the top.)
- Click the link that says “Adobe Digital Editions.” On the next screen, click the “Get Adobe Digital Editions” button. Then click “Download Now” at the top right corner of the screen. Then click the “Launch” button on the left—apparently, Adobe wants to test your persistence before they give you the software!
- Adobe Digital Editions will install on your computer.
- The first time you open it, Digital Editions will try to authorize your computer using a clever piece of technology called an Adobe ID. This allows Adobe to assign an identity to the user of the computer, and compare that identity to the user of any eReader that you plug into the computer. If both are using the same identity, Adobe will let you transfer eBooks from the computer to the device. If you want to use an eReader for your OverDrive books, you’ll need an Adobe ID.Here’s how you set one up:
- When you open Digital Editions, the Setup Assistant screen will open. Click “Continue.”
- If you happen to already have an Adobe ID, you can log in with your email address and password. But most likely, you’ll need to create a new ID.
- Click the “get an Adobe ID online” link. That will open the Adobe website.
- On the Adobe website, click the “Create an Adobe Account” button.
- Fill in the required fields to create an account, then scroll down and click the “Continue” button.
- Once you have created your ID, return to Adobe Digital Editions and use your new account information to authorize your computer.
More information for the curious
You know, I want more ebooks than my library has to offer, but I don’t want to pay for them. Is there anything out there like that?
You thought that one would stump us, didn’t you? No such luck. There are thousands of ebooks available for free viewing online. For the most part, these are classic titles in the public domain, so that copyright is no longer an issue. At Project Gutenberg, you can find ebook versions of Greek and Roman mythology, classics by authors like Nathaniel Hawthorn, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Henry James, and William Shakespeare, and well-loved children’s favorites like Little Women, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Anne of Green Gables.
Hmph. It’s still not quite enough. I want more books to choose from.
No problem. Check out Project Gutenberg’s many affiliates, including Audiobooksforfree.com. These sites have more free ebooks and audiobooks available than diamond stars sparkling in a black velvet sky.
Yes, very poetic, but all these books are in English. Where are the books in other languages?
As we said before, you’ll have to try a lot harder to stump us. If you check out the Project Gutenberg catalog page, you’ll find books in about 60 different languages.
Really? Wow. Ok, but what if I want to watch a movie instead? Bet you don’t have anything like that.
It’s true that downloadable video is a fairly recent addition in the library market, and so far the major studios have been reluctant to make a lot of the most current content available. That’s changing, however, as downloading movies becomes more and more popular. Overdrive, for example, now offers videos that you can check out from the library the same way you would check out a DVD.
Huh. Ok, fine. Well, um…wait, I’ve got it: what I really want is a copy of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.
Sure, we can show you—
That’s easy enough to—
And translated from the original German into, um, Sanskrit.
Uh…well, if we do a search for—
And read by Gilbert Gottfried.
Now you’re just being silly.
Come back again next week, when we’ll be talking about Flickr, the fun, easy, and free way to do more with your digital images than you ever thought possible. See you then!
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Do I have to download the entire book at once?
Yes, eBooks must be downloaded all at once.
- How long will it take to download the book?
Download times will vary with the length of the book and the speed of your Internet connection. If you are on a dial-up connection, you should expect download to be slow.
- Can I download the title multiple times?
For eBooks, only one download is allowed for each file. If your download fails for some reason, please contact us.
eBook Troubleshooting: help with common problems from your library.
Drop-in Sessions: get help or ask questions about these classes: Schedule.
Comments & suggestions welcome: Jenn and I welcome your comments about these classes! Comment in the “leave a Reply” form below or via the tech help comment form at: http://www.library.pima.gov/contact/tech.php