Pioneerland Library System is making its first foray into the world of eBooks, and so am I. More on the Pioneerland announcement later, but first I have to confess that I am a reluctant eBook reader. I like the feel of a book, the smell of a new book opened for the first time, and the comfy feeling of settling down with a cup of coffee and a good read. I love to sit on the beach beside Lake Superior and lose myself in Jane Austen’s cozy world while the waves crash and the seagulls squawk.
The knowledge that I could easily carry fifty books on the eReader that fits in my purse pushed me into this new journey, and it’s been interesting, to say the least. I’ll summarize what I’ve learned.
First, I knew I wanted to be able to borrow eBooks from libraries that are willing to lend them. This eliminated one of the major ereaders, although Amazon.com has announced that their Kindle will be compatible with library borrowing later this year. Second, I had to decide from the many options available, depending on how much I wanted my device to do. I decided to get a basic, black and white device that doesn’t let me browse the internet or check emails. I just want to read books.
Here is the announcement: Pioneerland has just launched a website that allows patrons to download eBooks and audio books. The address is http://pioneerland.lib.overdrive.com/. (Don’t add a “www” before the word Pioneerland.) This site contains everything you need to equip your home computer to download audio books and eBooks.
You will download the Overdrive Media Console if you are interested in downloading audio books. You will download Adobe Digital Editions if you are planning to download eBooks. A guided tour is available, which takes you through the process step by step.
When you’re ready to start, click on “Getting Started” on the digital media homepage. I followed the instructions, and was surprised at how easy it was. For eBooks, after the free software is installed on your computer, visit adobe.com and set up a user name and password for digital editions. This lets you authorize your computer, and you then authorize your device with the same user name and password.
When you check out an eBook from Pioneerland, it opens in Adobe Digital Editions. To put the eBook on your device, you connect the device to your computer, and as if by magic, the name of your device shows up on the bookshelf of Adobe Digital Editions. You just drag the title over to the name of your device, and you’re ready to read. You may return your book early, or wait until the due date, when your eBook will automatically be returned. You must delete the title from your device, which is easy to do while your device is connected to your computer.
Be aware that the Pioneerland website has this disclaimer: “Please note that you may download Audio books and eBooks to your personal computer or mobile device at your home or office but it is not possible to download them at Pioneerland Library System workstations.” You can, however, register your device on the wireless connection in the library and download a purchased or free book directly to your device.
At this time, I know that Hennepin County Library, http://www.hclib.org/ is one of the few library systems in Minnesota who permit library card holders from other regions to register and use their extensive library of eBooks. ELM, the Electronic Library for Minnesota, http://elm4you.org offers netlibrary.org, a collection of mostly nonfiction titles. I haven’t tried putting anything from ELM on my eReader.
Other sites that will inform you about free and inexpensive titles that are available to download are http://online-novels.blogspot.com; http://blog.booksontheknob.org; http://www.kobobooks.com; and http://dailycheapreads.com. Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Google all have free and inexpensive books to download, as well as more expensive items to purchase. The Bartleby Project, http://www.bartleby.com, and the Gutenberg Project, http://www.gutenberg.org are also sources for free books. http://ebooksinlibraries.blogspot.com/ has all kinds of information and links about using eBooks from public libraries. There are many, many more sites that you will find if you search. I have learned that sometimes the free titles will open only online on your computer, but sometimes you can also add them to your device. It simply involves trial and error.
The most important thing I learned is this: it is almost too easy to download and purchase eBooks directly on a reading device, especially for a book addict like me. See you at the library!