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216 N Marshall Ave
Litchfield MN 55355

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

An Ebook Update

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Our downloadable ebook and audiobook service is catching on!  In Pioneerland, we just got started in June.  We now have had about 500 unique patrons use the service.  There have been 1200 checkouts so far.   We currently have 458 items in our electronic collection, and we’re adding more all the time.
We’re able to get some “best-seller” lists to see what’s popular in Pioneerland downloadables.  The books that have been checked out the most since our website rolled out are the ebook version of Bad Blood by John Sanford and the audiobook of Heaven is for Real.  The titles that are most in demand right now are The Help, Split Second, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
I know many of you are getting started with library ebooks and need a little guidance on how it works.  Here are some of the important things to know:
You can get to our Overdrive website by going to our catalog, choosing “Download ebooks” below the search boxes, and clicking on the box that says “Downoad audiobooks, eBooks”.  From there, you can browse the new titles, search for a particular book, download the software you need to borrow books, or find answers to your questions.  You can also go directly to http://pioneerland.lib.overdrive.com/.  We also have a mobile site with a very long URL.  We have a link to it on our Litchfield Library blog if you’d like to find it for your mobile device.
One question we’re often asked is which readers and devices our downloadables can be used on.  You can find out by clicking on the blue “compatible devices” button on the left side of the Overdrive site.  You’ll find that most e-readers, MP3 players, and computers work with it.  Kindle still doesn’t work with it, but Amazon is saying that it will by the end of the year.  You can also download to an iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and a variety of other devices. 
There is some variation in how you download to different devices and which titles work with which device.  If you have an e-reader, such as a Nook or Sony e-reader, you’ll need to download Adobe Digital Editions to your personal computer.  You can do this by clicking on “Adobe Digital Editions for eBooks”, under “Getting Started” on the top left corner of the Overdrive site.  It’s very quick and easy.  You will need to set up an Adobe ID as part of that process, but that just involves registering an email address with Adobe, which will come up as you download the software. 
Once you have the software set up, you check out ebooks on your personal computer and transfer them to your e-reader while it’s attached by its cable.  It isn’t possible to download to library computers and transfer books to your e-reader; it has to be done on your own computer.
If you want to download audiobooks, you’ll need to install Overdrive Media Console, which is also listed under “Getting Started” in the corner.  Again, you’ll check them out on your computer and transfer them to your MP3 player, much like iTunes and other music download services.  Some audiobook titles will work on one device but not another.  They will also work on e-readers, but it all depends on which formats your e-reader or MP3 player handles.  Some of the audiobooks are in WMA format, and some are MP3.  Once you figure out what your device can play, you’ll be able to look at each title to see if it will work for you.  Some audiobooks can be burned to CDs; this depends on publisher permissions. 
If you are going to download to a mobile device such as an Android or iPad, you will download Overdrive Media Console to your device directly.  Then you check out books on your mobile device, without a need to connect it to a computer. 
If you click on the “guided tour” or “help/FAQs” button on our Overdrive website, you’ll find answers to many of your questions.  If you need more help, talk to our library staff or send a support request through the help page.
Downloading books seems so complicated until you get started.  Once you iron out the wrinkles of getting the first book onto your device, it’s really easy.  Then when you want a new book to read on Saturday night, you don’t have to wait until the library is open.  Or if you’re snowed in (if we even want to think about that in September), you can check out a book without leaving the comfort of your home.  I hope you’ll give it a try!