FAQ and Blog

This began as just an FAQ for issues that came up in my classes.  It has turned into an ongoing update on eBook and ePublishing issues. 
I update it when something happens that I feel is worth talking about or clarifying.
--Al Carlson

Reading EPUB on your Kindle Fire

posted Apr 23, 2012, 7:02 AM by carlsoa@tblc.org

If you have a Kindle Fire, you have experienced the joy of reading books on it and the frustration of getting books that you did NOT buy from Amazon onto it.
If you're willing to do a little work up front, I can make that easier for you. 
Well, actually, Adam C. Engst can make it easier for you.
He writes a blog at http://tidbits.com that does lots of things to make technology accessible.  You want to browse to:

This article is lengthy and thorough, but not difficult.
It introduces you to Aldiko--an excellent eReader--and explains how to efficiently get non-Amazon eBooks in various formats onto your Fire and enjoy reading them.
Great article.  If you know Adam personally, tell him I owe him a beer.

Rumor Control--Amazon and OverDrive

posted Mar 20, 2012, 11:41 AM by carlsoa@tblc.org

Rumor:  Many people think you need a credit card in order to have an Amazon Kindle account. 
If that were true, it would make it tough to offer children equitable access to OverDrive eBooks.  But it's not.  I went to Yahoo and created an email address on the spot, then went to the Amazon "Manage Your Kindle" page and created an account.  Using a library card for a dummy patron (who, of course, has no credit cards), I went to OverDrive, logged in, found a non-Penguin book, checked it out, and clicked on Get For Kindle.  That took me to Amazon where I logged in with my bogus Yahoo ID and assigned my OverDrive book to my Kindle Cloud Reader.  I then opened the book and read the first page.  Bottom Line:  You don't need a credit card to read OverDrive books on a Kindle.

NOTE:  There are ways to do this that will fail.  Penguin does not allow wireless transfer of titles they publish to Kindles.  You have to use a USB connection, which pretty much means you need a physical Kindle.  And if you have a physical Kindle, you probably have a credit card account.  Also, the Kindle Cloud Reader is a browser plug-in.  It works if you use Chrome or Firefox, but it won't work with Internet Explorer.  But neither of these issues contradict the bottom line:  you do not have to have a credit card to read OverDrive eBooks on Kindles.

Penguin eBooks and Kindle eReaders

posted Mar 8, 2012, 10:44 AM by carlsoa@tblc.org

For most OverDrive titles, getting the book you want onto your Kindle is easier than getting it onto your Nook or Sony Reader.  I have instructions for that on the Cheat Sheets page.  But if the eBook you want was published by Penguin, you have to sideload it to your Kindle just as you would an EPUB eBook that you wanted to get onto your Nook.  The OverDrive site labels these books, so if you pay attention to the screen, you won't be surprised.  (If you'd like to write an angry letter to Penguin, I won't stand in your way.)

A key point to remember here is that you can sideload only to a physical Kindle.  You may have the Kindle App on the PC you are using to get books from OverDrive.  But that won't help you.  Unless at least one physical Kindle is registered to you as a user, you will not be able to download.  Now, if you do have a physical Kindle, you can "lie" to the Amazon web site, say you are downloading it for that Kindle, then sneak it onto the Kindle App on your PC.  There may also be ways to get it onto your iPad or Android device.  But I have not figured those out yet.

The future of libraries..., if we're up to it.

posted Feb 2, 2012, 10:45 AM by carlsoa@tblc.org

Do you care about ebooks and libraries? 
If you do, I want you to invest about 30 minutes of your time watching this Vimeo video:  http://vimeo.com/24551817
It is a talk by Jamie LaRue, Director of Douglas County Public Libraries. 
I'm not going to describe it to you or try to give you a synopsis.
I'm just going to say that it will almost certainly change the way you think about libraries and ebooks.

Download a library eBook directly to Sony eReader

posted Oct 27, 2011, 5:44 AM by carlsoa@tblc.org

Sony has released a new eReader called the Sony Reader Wi-Fi.  What makes it special to us (Librarians) is that it can connect to an OverDrive catalog and directly download eBooks.  It does not need to go through the "download to your PC and then sideload to your eReader" process. 

You do have to be in a wireless network to use it.  It is not a 3G device.

OverDrive has put out a nice step-by-step video on how the direct download works.  Here is the URL:

Do I expect to see this capability in other eReaders soon?  You betcha!

OverDrive eBooks and 3G Kindles

posted Oct 14, 2011, 6:58 AM by carlsoa@tblc.org   [ updated Oct 20, 2011, 7:45 AM ]

If you are helping a patron who has a Kindle 3G, remind him that he will have to use a WiFi (wireless) connection to download the book from the Amazon Kindle site (which is where OverDrive sends it) to his actual Kindle eReader.  The cost of the Amazon WhisperNet (3G) connection is built into the cost of the book the person buys from Amazon.  And when he borrows a library eBook, there is no cash flow for Amazon. 

I had thought earlier that the patron would have to turn 3G off to make this work, but my Kindle owning colleagues tell me that the Kindle will automatically switch from 3G to WiFi, when it detects a wireless network.

Libraries lending Kindles

posted Sep 27, 2011, 11:22 AM by carlsoa@tblc.org

I have learned that some school libraries/learning resource centers are lending Kindles with specific titles on them to their students.  This seems counter-intuitive at first and may not scale up well, but it can be a tidy solution in specific environments.  The libraries buy the Kindles and register the library--not a person--as the owner of all of them.  They can load each Kindle with hundreds of the classics that students "have to" read, because those are mostly public domain and can be obtained free from Amazon as well as Project Gutenberg.  Curriculum-specific titles can be purchased and added to the library OPAC.  And they can be loaded onto a specific Kindle quite quickly, once you are familiar with the Amazon Kindle Management page.

I've added a basic description of this idea to Resources page of this site and to the Staff Tools page.

Kindle and OverDrive--Together at last!

posted Sep 22, 2011, 7:39 AM by carlsoa@tblc.org

OverDrive made reading their eBooks on a Kindle--or any Kindle App--a reality this week.  As a Librarian, the most articulate thing I can say is, "Wow!"
Getting an eBook from OverDrive to a Kindle is a little different than getting it onto a Nook or other EPUB-centric eReader.
You don't need Adobe Digital Editions, and you don't "side load".
I've put a basic set of instructions up on this site in the Cheat Sheets section and in the Staff Tools and Resources section.

But let me repeat my main point:  "Wow!"

calibre--Your eReader's Best Friend

posted Sep 19, 2011, 11:27 AM by carlsoa@tblc.org

Once you start reading eBooks, one of the first things you should do is download and install "calibre" on your PC.  To quote the calibre web site:  "calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books. It has a cornucopia of features divided into the following main categories: Library management, E-book conversion, Syncing to e-book reader devices, Downloading news from the web and converting it into e-book form, Comprehensive e-book viewer, Content server for online access to your book collection."

Note that "free and open source" part.  Calibre is a Swiss Army Knife for e-Reading, and it is 100% free.  Now, you can donate if you want.  And I have.  And I'm sure I will again.  And I think you should, too.  But you don't have to.

So, where is this paragon of programming?  Browse to http://calibre-ebook.com.  Poke around.  View the demo.  Then grab your own copy.  You will be blown away by the things you can do with it.

Download OverDrive eBooks Directly to Sony eReader

posted Sep 13, 2011, 11:22 AM by carlsoa@tblc.org   [ updated Sep 13, 2011, 11:28 AM ]

The new Kim Komando device comparison chart I cited in a post this morning is already obsolete.  I learned a few minutes ago that Sony will begin selling a dedicated eReader in October that will let you download OverDrive eBooks directly to it via WiFi.  No PC as middleman needed with this eReader.  It will be called the Reader Wi-Fi, but I have no pricing information yet.

You can read the full Library Journal.com blog post at http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/home/891828-264/sony_announces_first_dedicated_ereader.html.csp

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