With your Owatonna Public Library card you can check out books from the Selco regional public library system's collection of current and popular fiction and nonfiction, including books for children and teens. These are available through OverDrive, which enables you to borrow eBooks with your library card just as you do other materials. (eAudiobooks are also available through OverDrive.)
On April 5, 2013, OverDrive released its "Next Generation Catalog." Click here for help navigating this new version.
We will update our tip sheets over the next weeks, but these may also be helpful in the meantime:
- Own a Kindle? See Checking Out & Returning with a Kindle helpsheet prepared by Selco.
- Own a mobile device, or an eReader other than Kindle (e.g. Nook, Sony Reader, etc.)? This OverDrive guide covers two topics: Page 1 covers using the OverDrive mobile app, and page 2 provides instructions for transferring to an eReader such as Nook, etc.
- As of 10/2012 you can now download the OverDrive app to Nook Tablet and Nook Color.
- Using the collection through the OPL Mobile app? See more information here.
Some eBooks are also available through our statewide ELM (Electronic Library for Minnesota) subscription. These are mostly academic and out-of-copyright titles, and the subscription does not include the ability to download to a portable device.
If you are wondering why you can't find that bestseller in the library's eBook collection, you can ask two questions: Is the publisher even allowing libraries to buy their eBooks, and if so, how much more are they charging libraries vs. the individual consumer?
Many publishers seem to believe, falsely, that library eBook lending cuts into their business. As of this writing (9/18/12), only three of the Big Six publishers are allowing libraries to purchase their titles. Hachette allows us to purchase backlist (older) titles only, and has just increased library pricing by an average of 220%. HarperCollins allows us to purchase frontlist titles, but we can only lend each one 26 times. Random House allows us to purchase frontlist titles, but tripled their library pricing early in 2012.
Take a look at this chart comparing Library Pricing v. Consumer Pricing for both print and eBooks. Many thanks to Douglas County Libraries, who looked at some of the current bestselling titles. As you can see, not only do libraries pay much more for eBooks but we are not even offered some of the most popular titles.
If you are interested in how we got here, read on ...
On November 11, 2011, Librarian By Day, Bobbie Newman summarized how each of the "Big Six" publishing houses was working with (or not working with) public libraries:
Now let’s talk about the Big Six. If you’re not familiar that would be Hachette, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin, Random House and Simon & Schuster.
- Both MacMillan and Simon & Schuster have refused to make their ebooks available to public libraries since day one.
- Hachette Book Group stopped offering its frontlist ebook titles to libraries in July (2011).
- HarperCollins – last year (2010) HC announced their 26 check out policy.
- Penguin – right now new titles aren’t available while they work out security concerns
- Random House – ... works with libraries ...
2/09/12: Penguin has now terminated its contract with OverDrive (the vendor we work with to loan eBooks). We are allowed to keep access to titles already paid for, but Kindle owners may no longer download these titles wirelessly.
We think that publishers need to work with librarians to start making eBooks more accessible to the people we both serve - you, the reader!
Librarians care about your privacy. We simply don't track what individuals are reading, and won't tell others about it either. Therefore we want you to note that when you borrow Kindle eBooks, you finish the process by connecting with your Amazon account. At that point we librarians no longer have any control over protecting your records. We aren't accusing Amazon of nefarious acts, and it won't stop us personally from borrowing Kindle eBooks, but you can be sure that at the very least Amazon will use your borrowing record to try to sell things to you.
Consumer Reports has rated devices. If you have an Owatonna Public Library card you can enter your card number and search for "e-book readers" (without quotes) in the search box at the top of the screen. Use their spelling of "e-book" and you will see the information pop up immediately. Print copies of Consumer Reports are also available at Owatonna Public Library.
CNET has done an excellent, thorough overview entitled "Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which e-book reader should you buy?" (updated on August 7, 2012).
""Wired Magazine has a series of buying guides, including one on Tablets & E-Book Readers.
You can also contact Assistant Director Renée Lowery (444-2460 or renee @ owatonna.info ) to discuss various models and how they work (or don't) with library lending.
If you download a free app such as Blio or Kindle, you can find free eBooks through those apps. Many Web sites also offer free eBooks. You will not find current bestsellers available for free; most of what you will find are items in the public domain (i.e., older items no longer covered by copyright). Some sites only make titles available to read via your browser, other sites offer downloads. Below are links to some of the more well-known and comprehensive sources of free eBooks.
www.feedbooks.com (free public domain and original books)
www.gutenberg.org (Project Gutenberg offers mobile downloads)
books.google.com/books (Google Books: read via your web browser, some downloads available)
books.google.com/ebooks (Google eBookstore: find free eBooks via their home page or toggle "Free only" under "Price" after you do a search)
Renée P. Lowery
Last updated April 6, 2013