Friday, September 23, 2011

Your Local Library... in an eReader

I am one of those people. I own a Kindle. I know some people think that a Kindle is the death of text, and is the death-knell for libraries everywhere. This article is not about how I disagree with that (I am currently reading, In Defence of the Realm does not come in Kindle format, and I wish it did. It is over 1000 pages and weighs 3.8 pounds!).

Engadget posted an article about how public libraries across the US are now offering more books in eReader format thanks to a application called Overdrive. The thing which caught my eye was now it allowed for Kindle Readers. Now, my home library in Buffalo had some books available for the Nook, but not for Kindle. So this was definitely good news for me, now thousands of miles away in England.

Now this does not mean you can keep the ebook forever.... no no this is a library remember? So this means you can check out a ebook for a specified period of time (no you can't renew right now, but you can check it out again) and never worry about late fees!

The process is (relatively) simple, although it makes you log into both your library and Amazon account:

How do I get library eBooks for Kindle? (taken from Overdrive website)
  • Browse and check out a Kindle Book from an OverDrive-powered digital library site.
  • Click the 'Get for Kindle' button. This opens the website. You may be required to sign in with your account if you are not already logged in.
  • Select a Kindle device or Kindle reading app. Click the 'Get library book' button and sync your device or app to download the book, or choose to send it to your device via USB.
  • An active Wi-Fi connection is required for wireless delivery to a Kindle device.
  • If your Kindle is not Wi-Fi capable or you do not have an active Wi-Fi connection, read Amazon's instructions for transferring files via USB.
So, what happens if you find a book in EPub format, something not supported by Kindle? Well no worry there is a fix for that, but it does require another software download. I found the solution in this MediaBistro article which talks about a program called Calibre. This program allows you to convert book formats to other ones which are supported by your eReader. You can download it for Windows, Mac, Linux, and even as a portable app!
So this is being rolled out across 11,000 libraries across the US, but when I checked the libraries in Buffalo and in Arlington,VA had this now.... so dig out that library card and start supporting them by downloading! 

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