Sunday, September 25, 2011

More on Overdrive, Libraries, and Kindle + New video guide + Kindle apps for i(devices) guide

More on your libraries and Overdrive with Kindle

This is supplemental to "Where and how to find libraries using Overdrive + other info & photo guide."

About that Kindle book graphic at the left: When you arrive at your library, online, this is the image you'll want to click on, as it leads you to a set of e-books that are definitely available for the Kindle (as well as for other formats).

  At that group of e-books, you'll see the total number of loanable Kindle books there, for your county and any of its city or town libraries sharing what is available.  So far, at each library, the number of Kindle books is larger than the number of ePub books (used by the other online e-book stores).

I mentioned earlier the two methods of searching for libraries near you that partner with Overdrive.

Current search form (and results shown)
  The Current Search form is on the Overdrive Home page (Link: ), at the top left, and it covers searches for products (1st tab), libraries (2nd tab) and bookstores (3rd tab).

  While searching by zip code will narrow it down best, the search can be for a specific library name as well, or by city.

  Searching by zip code gets you a listing in what seems random order, but it's by the number of miles from your zipcode and covers a wide area.  There's no other information shown.  Clicking on a library name in the results list leads you directly to a page that shows the library's street address and the site of the overall library that covers it.
  There are 50 results per page and you can't search them on one page.

"Classic" search form (and results shown)
  The Classic Search form is given a text link at the Home page just above the top banner that displays the Current search form described above.  The pure-text link leads us to the Classic Search form page (Link: ).

  With this one, you can specify the media type, in this case "eBook." This results-page is easier on the eyes, as it's normal text fonts that are black, vs the light blue, blobby results of the newer search form above.
  (Speaking of 'media,' Amazon announced today that they signed an Agreement with 20th Century Fox for video streaming.)

  Also, the Classic search results listing shows the mileage from the zip code you search on (which I find very helpful).  However, this one is sorted by the overall Group that the library belongs to and which determines how many Kindle books will be carried by the smaller library.

  There are glitches in the database. I found "El Cerrito" covered in Northern California Digital Library, which has 1,200 more books than the county library structure has.  However, when I got to the No. Calif. Digital Library website, I found that 'El Cerrito' is not listed as a participating library.  In fact, the Northern California Grouping shows a LOT of library and city names, while the actual OverDrive page for the Northern California Digital Library instead shows just a very small group of participating libraries.

  Also, I'm in the Northern California San Francisco area, and my listing of a 100-mile area shows Los Angeles Public Library, which is in Southern California, about 500 miles away, so you'll just need to double-check libraries you don't already know.

On September 22, Overdrive added a very useful video guide to getting library books on your Kindle at Overdrive libraries.  It's a good guide, but I couldn't help noticing that their example for a Lending Period choice was limited to 5 days!  They say that this depends on the library, of course.  Reports are that most are 7 to 21 days with either 7 or 14 days the more frequent default now.

The Kindler Effect! is already in evidence.  In the various libraries I checked last night, almost every book was on a wait list, some with 20 or so people.  This would be book titles available for Kindles AND ePub readers.
I did read 2 brief interviews with librarians who said they were very happy to be able to do this and see the Kindle mob able to join in, though they didn't quite put it that way.

How to use the Kindle App for i(Devices) for library borrowing - includes how to sync it.

  He mentions 3G and doesn't seem limited to WiFi - If so, that would be because he pays the 3G bill to his carrier, as opposed to the Kindle-device 3G being paid to AT&T by Amazon.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's)   K3 Special ($114)   K3-3G Special ($139)   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

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  1. I think the real issue isn't finding libraries that offer Kindle checkouts, it's finding out if the few libraries to which most of us belong are offering the feature and then how to find Kindle books. Right now, there are so few Kindle books in most collections, that it makes little sense to search by title and see if a Kindle edition is available. It is much better to browse lists of Kindle titles for something interesting.

    Most university and public libraries have limits on who can use their services and the ability to check out books digitally will only make those policies stronger. A library in Peoria, funded by property taxes in the city, isn't going to add to its already strained budget by allowing people halfway across the country access to its titles.

    The real hassle may be discovering how to find Kindle books in your library's collection. In my case, the release of Kindle checkout came at a time with Seattle Public Library has been engaging in a major software upgrade that's proved buggy. There are all sorts of issues with holds, renewals and on-screen-displays that need addressing. Kindle checkout seems to work, but everything else is in a mess.

    And libraries that aren't already on Overdrive's bandwagon may be even more reluctant to join with the added complications Kindle checkout brings. That seems to be the case with my other major library, that at the University of Washington.

    The increasingly bloated administrative bureaucracies at many universities are making it hard to fund essential services such as libraries. I think Kindles would be an excellent way to provide students with not just class reading material and textbooks at low cost, but with class notes at no cost for copying.

    But funding Kindle support is hard when there's an important new position for Vice-President of Policy Implementation and Goal Furtherance to fill with an accompanying six-figure income. And never mind that no one can explain how that new position will benefit students.

  2. Michael,
    Re "the real issue" [being] "finding out if the few libraries to wich most of us belong are offering the feature and then how to find Kindle books"

    I'm confused. That's exactly why I wrote about searching by Zip code. How much easier could it be to find out which of the libraries you're using is on Overdrive?

    The one with mileage showing in search results was even better for this purpose. At least in my case I use only ones I can get to easily enough (and which have enough of the titles I like). The first thing I found out was that Berkeley, California was on the list.
    Then I looked for Richmond, Calif and no go on that either. But found San Francisco (with almost 7,000 ebooks) and several smaller ones all around me that are on but which don't have many ebooks (only 787 in the one near my house).

    -----} You add, "... and then how to find Kindle books"

    But that's exactly why the opening Image.
    It was the reason I wrote the blog entry at all.
    That's why it's the first thing you see.

    When at the library, you click on that image and it takes you straight to the set of ebooks available for the Kindle.

    Was I that unclear? Thought I'd try to make it easier to do both the things you say is the "real" issue for you.

    You mention "the real hassle may be discovering how to find Kindle books in your library's collection."

    Again, it's merely clicking on that specific first image to the left seen when you arrive on the library website.

    I guess I had better modify what's in the first paragraph about the image to the left as it was the main reason I wrote the piece. (Maybe you skipped the first paragraph then?)

    Will try to think of how to make it clearer.

    As for university financial priorities, you're too right. I see that all the time at the big university here when 20% of staff is losing its jobs and they raise the income of the many VPs.


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