Getting Started with eBooks

ebooksTechnology is wonderful….when it works. EBooks are convenient, portable and a great way to take many tomes on vacation without having to check an extra bag at the airport. When things don’t work out, however, it can be surprisingly hard to get an actual human to help you figure out what has gone awry.

Here at the Everett Public Library we are trying to change that fact. This Saturday, September 14th, we will be having two drop-in sessions dedicated to connecting your eReader, tablet or smartphone to the Library’s eBook collection. One session will start at 10 am at the Main Library in the auditorium. The second will start at 1 pm and be at the Evergreen Branch meeting room.

During each 2 hour session there will be actual humans, not Cylons or replicants, to help you check out and download free eBooks from the library through OverDrive. There will even be instructions sheets that you will be able to take home with you.

In order to make the sessions more helpful to you, there are three things that you should consider before attending:

Remember to bring a valid Everett Library card, which is required to check out eBooks. If you don’t have a card yet, come visit us and get one today!

In order to download eBooks from the library, you need to have a device that is compatible with OverDrive. Check out the list of OverDrive-compatible devices to make sure yours is on the list.

Most devices will access eBooks by downloading them in Adobe ePub or Adobe PDF format, which requires the use of an Adobe ID. If you do not have an Adobe ID, you can easily create one with any active email account.

So come to the library this Saturday, and don’t forget to bring your eReader, and get that rarest of things in our technological world: hands on instruction from knowledgeable human beings.

How to Check Out an eBook

In my last post, I highlighted all the great eBooks the library owns. I know. You’re saying, “Ron, Everett Public Library has a fine collection of eBooks, but I don’t know the first thing about checking out no stinking eBooks. I’m apprehensive!” Well, apprehend no more. Read on and assuage your baseless fears.

Start with the Everett Public Library home page. In the middle-top area of the page you will see this picture.
Ebooks on epls webpage 
Click on it to start your eBook journey.

One of the regions on the next page is dedicated to OverDrive, a website that allows you to check out eBooks with your Everett Public Library card.
Overdrive on epls
If you have any questions, don’t know what kind of format your reader requires or how to download a book, click on the HELP button.

Overdrive help
Each link here takes you to a helpful topic. Because it’s HELP.

If you want to dig right in and look at titles, skip the HELP button and click on Go to the library’s OverDrive Collection.
Go to the librarys overdrive collection

Here you will see headings such as May We Recommend with pictures of selected titles.

May we recommend

Click on a book to find out more about it.

Overdrive first page book display

This eBook entry is similar to any entry you’d see in the EPL catalog, with one important difference being Format Information. If you are unsure what format you need, go back to the HELP button for … help. Once a format is ascertained, if you want to check out this item then click on add to cart. At this point you can check out the single item or continue to add more items to your cart before checking out. It’s the library equivalent of on-line shopping. For now, let’s add this book to our shopping cart.

My cart
The shopping cart shows what items are in it and allows you to remove an item, continue browsing to add more items, or proceed to checkout to finish.

But before checking out you have to sign in.

Log in to check out

Signing in takes you to the Check Out page.

Checkout

At the Check Out page you can choose how long you want to check an item out (7, 14 or 21 days), remove an item from your cart, and finally check out.  You also are told how many more eBooks you can check out to your account. To complete the process, click on Confirm Check Out. The next step to take varies depending on which format you’ve chosen. Refer to HELP if you have questions.

There are many more details to learn about eBooks and their checkout, but the best way to learn is to give it a try and ask questions. Our staff is happy to answer you in person, by phone, or by email. Also, don’t forget about the hands on Getting Started with eBooks program happening this Saturday, January 12th.

So dig in and enjoy. You may not like this manner of reading, but then again it might turn out to be the best thing since sliced motherboard.

Ron

EBooks at the Everett Public Library

EBooks are a relatively new thing in the history of written stuff. Sure, there were clay tablets, papyrus scrolls, and hand-copied books for eons back in the mists of time, but even mass-produced printed books have been around for nearly 600 years. EBooks are scarcely a zygote.

In spite of this newbie status, the amount of titles available in this infant electronic format is increasing dramatically as the number of e-readers and tablets proliferate. And this trend will continue until the next technology comes along.

I am no Luddite, and in fact have worked on the slightly techy side of computers, but I did not see myself as a potential eBook reader. I like books, holding them, turning pages. Conversely, I don’t particularly enjoy staring at computer screens. But as free eBooks became available in libraries, I was lured by the siren call of near-infinite storage in something the size of a slim paperback. No more vacations with backpacks full of books! No more wondering if the pantry should be filled with food or overflowing stacks of books!

Initially, I feared that the library would carry only best-seller eBooks rather than titles suited to my quirky tastes. However, after thoroughly exploring the catalog, I can state unequivocally that this is not the case.  Everett Public Library currently has over 3,000 electronic books including fiction in all genres, kid’s books, young-adult, and non-fiction ranging from history to cooking to biographies.  Here are a few of the titles I founds while browsing for eBooks in the EPL catalogue.

 Lady cyclist
A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson
Historical fiction
Available as an eBook, book, large-print book, and audiodisc
In 1923, two sisters, one devout and the other not-so-much, journey to be missionaries on the ancient Silk Road.

Hedys folly
Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes
Biography, history
Available as an eBook, book, and audiodisc
Yes Virginia, Hedy Lamarr was an inventor who created the technology that became the basis for cell phones, Wi-Fi and other devices commonplace to modern life. This book tells of her adventures with inventing partner George Antheil, an avant-garde composer known to use airplanes and other machinery in his compositions. High on my to-read list.

The dead gentleman 
The Dead Gentleman by Matthew Cody
Juvenile fiction
Available only as an eBook
A hole through time, zombies, steampunk, a bad guy called the Dead Gentleman, and two kids from different eras attempting to save the world.

 Hawaii
Fodor’s 2012 Hawai’i
Travel guide
Available only as an eBook
 
billy the kid

Billy the Kid and the Vampyres of Vegas: A Lost Story from the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
YA Fiction, short story
Available only as an eBook
Billy the Kid, who is an immortal, and Scathach the Shadow join forces to defeat vampyres who control Las Vegas.

 Mirage
Mirage by Matt Ruff
Fiction
Available as an eBook and a book
Matt Ruff is one of my favorite authors, but I’d be the first to say that he’s not for everyone. His books tend toward the surreal, being full of twists and unlikely situations. Mirage takes the 2001 attack on the Twin Towers and turns it on its head, with Christian fundamentalist terrorists attacking the benevolent Muslim states.

Happy Healthy Monsters 
Happy Healthy Monsters:  Good Night, Tucked In Tight by Naomi Kleinberg
Children’s picture book
Available only as an eBook
Grover and Elmo teach toddlers and their parents the importance of ample sleep.

City of Ember
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Juvenile fiction
Available as an eBook, book, AudioEBook, audiodisc, playaway and DVD

The last refuge for humanity, the city of Ember, seems to be in peril. Lina and her friend Doon try to decipher an ancient message to save the city.

George F  
George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis
Biography, politics
Available as an eBook, book, and AudioEBook
A look at the work of this key figure who battled to help America survive the Cold War.

Richard Scarry
Richard Scarry’s Bedtime Stories by Richard Scarry
Children’s picture book
Available as an eBook and a book

Stay tuned for an informative post on how to check this great stuff out from the library. And don’t forget about our hands on eBook instruction session coming up on Saturday, January 12th.

Ron