I love my iPad, and I’m reading more books now that I can download them instantly and read them in bed at night with the lights off, but one of the downsides (besides the difficulty of reading in bright sunlight of buying ebooks is that you can’t resell them, buy them used, or lend them to friends (unless you use the B&N (nook) eReader, in which case you can lend them to someone else with a B&N e-reader for two weeks.)
But you CAN borrow e-books—from your local library. First I checked out the Berkeley Public Library, which has a huge downtown branch and several satellite branches, but all they have are Safari Tech Books Online, no literature. Then I went to the San Francisco Public Library and signed up for a library card. It turns out that you need to apply in person for a library card, so you can’t, for example, use the New York Public Library e-book system unless you go to New York, show them your New York ID, and get a New York Public Library card. In California, you don’t have to live in the city of the library, just in the state. So even though I live in Berkeley, I got myself a San Francisco library card. There I found three databases of e-books: Safari Tech Books again, NetLibrary Books, and Overdrive eBooks. Someone on staff (a librarian perhaps?) said Overdrive works best with iPads, so that’s where I began. If you’re interested, you can watch the tutorial here.
First I found a page that says I can listen to audio library books on my iPad but cannot read e-library books from Overdrive because it doesn’t support the ePub format. Here is a list of compatible devices, including the B&N nook, the Sony Reader, and the Kobo eReader. I haven’t gotten a clear feel yet for what books are available. Through Overdrive, when I click on “Most Popular,” I get a list of authors/books that begin with Stephanie Meyer, Stieg Larsson, Dan Brown, and page after page of romance novels. Since none of these books will work on my iPad, I lost interest in searching through the database. I’m working on finding out if library e-books will eventually work on the iPad or whether, thanks for Apple’s proprietary measures, I’ll be stuck paying $9.99 for every book forever. (Does anyone know the answer to this? I’ve queried Overdrive and am waiting for an answer.)
Meanwhile, what about you? Have you ever read a library e-books on your e-reader? Which database did you use? What was the selection like? And how easy/pleasant was the experience?
By the way, for those of you who look forward to Link Love on Fridays, I am headed off on my third camping trip in five weeks today (with a toddler and an infant) and have yet to pack, so I’ll be posting links next week. In the meantime, be sure to check out Nathan Bransford and Sierra Godfrey, who always have great roundups of links on Fridays.
An in case you wonder how I spend my free time, yesterday it was learning about the different Caterpillar trucks after my toddler saw a bunch doing construction on a Berkeley street. After perusing the website, I found this one pretty cool. I know it’s not environmentally friendly, but look at the way it slices and gathers trees! Now I understand why kids get excited about trucks.
Have a great weekend!