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Kindles, file extensions, and the friendly manual

posted Nov 3, 2010, 6:35 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jan 6, 2011, 9:17 AM ]
I've done training sessions at about six libraries now, and we recently sent out questionnaires to everyone who attended and gave us an email address.  As part of our survey, we asked for questions that real patrons ask now.  Here are a few that you sent me, along with my answers.
Q: Why can't I use my Kindle?
A:  I have an explanation sheet I hand out in class that answers this.  It is also available on the Resources page of this site.  Look for:  Epub file types and DRM.  Actually, you can use a Kindle, but only for MP3 audiobooks.  And that's not the answer Kindle owners want to hear.
Q:  Why are there so many different file extensions?
A:  I have no really good answer for this.  Each file type (and extension) was created to do a particular job.  In isolation each is fine.  It is getting them all to work searmlessly on the devices we have that is the tough part.
Q: How do I get this thingie to work?  (Thingie can be iPad, Nook, Kindle, or any other piece of electronic apparatus.)
A:  Read The Friendly Manual.  Really.  The manuals that come with Nooks and Kindles and iPods are quite good.  They are where I got my information for these classes.
Q: Why can't you have user guides so I can do this myself?
A:  Well, see the previous question.  And the TBLC Digital Media site (aka OverDrive Catalog) has really, really clear instructions on many parts of the process.  And I am working on a series of cheat sheets that are device specific.  As of November 3, I have one done and posted on the Cheat Sheets page of this site.  Look for OverDrive to Nook.