February 2014 Bookmark: Putting the Free in E-Books … A Primer on Book Downloading Available Via The Library
Given the close ties between some e-reader manufacturers and major booksellers, it never occurs to many of us that e-books—and e-audiobooks—can also be downloaded for free. Just as ink-on-paper books can be borrowed from the library, their digital cousins can also be borrowed via compatible devices, through services that many libraries—including the Pelham Library—purchase to expand their offerings.
This month’s Bookmark highlights services available through the Town of Pelham Public Library and the Westchester Library System (WLS) that can give digital devices access to virtual libraries full of e-books and e-audiobooks. Though no two digital content providers are available on exactly the same platforms, most are available through the Apple and Android app stores for smartphones and tablets and on the Kindle and Nook e-readers. Some services also offer downloads to computers. It’s best to check individual services to see what platforms they are available on.
LOG ON, BUT DON’T FORGET YOUR LIBRARY CARD
To access the thousands upon thousands of books these services offer, make sure to have your library card by your side. It’s your gateway to free e-everything, but in most cases, you will need it to create an account using your card number and sometimes a PIN, which is often the last four digits of your phone number.
Most also require a free ID from Adobe, which helps the e-book business defend against piracy. Getting an Adobe ID is easy. Some library-based e-book services let readers acquire one within the app itself, or you can go to Adobe.com, search “Adobe ID” and follow the directions to create an account. It’s a quick process.
Navigating to these services is also a bit different than what you might be used to. The way to log in and get full access to all of the Library’s selections is usually not through each service’s homepage—they tend to be informational only—but through the Pelham Library or WLS websites. Go to pelhamlibrary.org/resources and click on the link labeled “Listen & Read” for links to the services below and other e-resources. Below are specifics about each:
What it is: A free e-book service available only to library cardholders, through libraries that have purchased it.
How it works: Registered Freading users receive four virtual tokens per week in their online accounts, which can then be traded for book downloads. Generally, recently published books are worth four tokens, with older books using up fewer tokens. Unused tokens are rolled over for a four-week period before expiring. Checked out e-books are usually available for two weeks. (Note: When selecting your library, note that the library is listed under “Town of Pelham Public Library.”). To start Freading click here.
Examples of current offerings: Ilene Beckerman’s Love, Loss And What I Wore, Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater and the Big Nate book series by Lincoln Peirce. It also has a large collection of romance novels.
What it is: Owned by Recorded Books, OneClickdigital allows free downloads of e-audiobooks to library members. It is currently rolling out an e-book service as well.
How it works: Each library has access to a certain number of digital copies of each audiobook; if they are not immediately available, registrants can put items on hold or on a wish list for later download.
Examples of current offerings: The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, Michael Pollan’s Cooked and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. To get started with OneClickDIgital, be sure to first create you account throught the Pelham Library’s website link so that you can access to additional content purchased specifically for cardholders.
What it is: The largest e-book and e-audiobook collection, Overdrive offers more than 12,000 titles through the Library, from publishers including Random House, HarperCollins, AudioGO, Harlequin and Bloomsbury. It also offers access to video and music.
How it works: Titles can be downloaded to a number of digital devices. Books that aren’t currently available can be put on hold; readers are notified via email when a title becomes available, and the service posts information on how many other people are waiting for the title. Click here to begin your browsing or search for a specific title.
Examples of current offerings: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief and The Fifty Shades series by E.L. James.
What it is: An e-book service, specializing in classic books, which distributes books for free because their U.S. copyright has expired and they are in the public domain. As such, users don’t need a library card to access its collection of approximately 42,000 titles, nor will a book’s time on your hard drive expire; the site is supported by voluntary donations.
How it works: Books can be downloaded via app or at Gutenberg.org in a variety of formats, including in HTML and as a PDF.
Examples of current offerings: Grimm’s Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.
What it is: Currently still being tested, Totalboox is an e-book collection that has a singular take on the digital-lending business. Books are available free through the WLS system, but Totalboox is also available to people who aren’t members of traditional libraries, in which case they pay for what they read, even if it’s only part of a book. To begin click here.
How it works: Unlike most other services, users can choose as many e-books as they wish; downloads are unrestricted. People can organize their Totalboox collections by category into shareable “Shelves.”
Examples of current offerings: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, The Everything Pizza Cookbook, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Promises to Myself by Mary Anne Radmacher.
WHEN IN DOUBT, COME TO THE LIBRARY
Yes, it’s a vast landscape, with a number of different services, different formats downloadable to different devices, collectively offering thousands of books. If you need help getting started with borrowing books using your digital device, call the Library at 738-1234 for a one-to-one tutorial.
Storytime: Tuesdays for ages 3 – 5, 10:30 a.m.; Wednesdays for kids up to age 2, 10:30 a.m.
Bilingual Storytime: Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. This program offers a story and activities in Spanish and English. For children from pre-school through mid-elementary school.
Homework Help: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. For children in grades 1 – 8. Students must bring their written assignments and accompanying textbooks.
Fun Friday: February 7, 7 – 9 p.m. Drop off your first- through fifth-grader to enjoy a movie, arts and crafts and more. Homework assistance and tutoring are also available. Pre-registration is required by calling 738-1234.
Adult Book Club: Thursday, February 6, 7:30 p.m. The Book Club kicks off 2014 with a discussion of The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach.
New York Health Exchange Presentation: Thursday, February 20, 1:30 p.m. The Business Council of Westchester provides this seminar about how the new healthcare law affects small businesses and the self-employed.
Eight-Week Career Counseling Seminar: Begins Monday, February 3. There are only a few seats left for Managing Your Career in Changing Times. The program is sponsored by the Westchester Library System’s WEBS Career and Educational Counseling Service. For dates, times and to register for this seminar, please call (914) 674-3612.
Computer Training: Want to learn Microsoft Word or Excel, or learn how to use the Library’s many apps? Call 738-1234 for individualized training.
(Library programs are free and open to the public.)
The Library is closed on February 17, in observance of President’s Day