Tuesday, April 19, 2011

E-book thoughts

Have you seen this video? It’s for a new Nursery Rhyme Storytelling app for the iPad: 

The interactive touchscreen looks amazing – can we call it a book, a videogame or what? It’s a bit of both. Sad that they show the dad being so far away though… that’s more of a drawback than a perk, to my mind.

Most of the patrons I talk to are expecting the library to provide the same seamless wifi experience that they get
when they purchase an e-book. Most of them are very surprised that they can’t download an e-book if it’s “checked out” to someone else. I find myself doing a lot of educating about the fact that before you select your e-books on Overdrive, you need to download Adobe Digital Editions to your computer, then physically plug in your e-reader to your computer to manually transfer titles to your device. There's a free Overdrive app for Mac products, which is helpful, but still not as easy to browse for available titles as I would like.

I spend
quite a bit of time encouraging people, because the first time you download a library e-book, it’s a very lengthy set-up process, getting your device “authorized” and so on. Once you’ve got all your accounts set up, and are ready to go, it’s a snap.

I'm hearing that several Barnes & Noble stores have been telling their customers if they have any problems with getting Overdrive books on the Nook, to just go to any nearby library and ask a helpful librarian. Sadly, I think this is a hit-or-miss proposition. Some librarians are excited about new technology and others aren't. 
I can tell you that the last time I was at Barnes & Noble I was mobbed by customers with questions when I made the mistake of helping a salesclerk download an app. I had to excuse myself amidst angry glares and woeful pleas for more help, with the explanation that I really didn't work there, and I had other errands I had to get to. Will those folks make it into the library? Will they get the help they need to get the books they want? I hope so.


  1. Oh my you had a mob :-D I have a nook, but haven't had the need to go to the library to get more apps since I have the 3g black and white and only use it to read on. Also, I've been getting such great deals on books by having a nook, I don't mind purchasing to support the authors.

  2. thanks for the info. I don't like a long process for anything so i may just stay to checking out the books.

  3. @LM - Yes, people are hungry for e-books. In a lot of cases, they aren't very computer-literate at all, so I'm not sure why they suddenly want to start reading things on screen.

    @Sidne - It's only a long process the FIRST time you download something! After that, it's relatively quick and painless. I download books a LOT, I love my Nook. Sometimes it's tough to remember how hard it was at first to get everything to work properly.
    I see a lot of people get discouraged setting up Adobe Digital Editions because they think EVERY TIME will be as ardous as the first, when in fact, that's not the case at all.

  4. We have a color Nook at work that I have spent one super-frustrating afternoon experimenting with. The problem wasn't with the device, but with downloading the appropriate software, which did not go well - nor did trying to "check out" e-audiobooks to put on my Ipod. Big fail! Usually I'm good with this stuff, so it made me feel REALLY stupid. I can only imagine how patrons feel (good thing they don't have to ask me for advice...)

  5. I felt the same! I felt really, really stupid! And angry at myself, since I'm supposed to be an "information professional" who is good at this stuff.
    I've got it worked out now, and find using it a breeze, but it was really hard at first.

    There's an extra step on the Mac, that they don't tell you about -- ferreting that out was a challenge.

    If they bring their laptop, and their e-reader, usually, I'm able to get patrons set up and running things right away. But, once in a while, I can't figure out how they've put their settings, and it doesn't work, or once in a while, I have a patron who gets impatient and leaves, just as things are going well! Very frustrating.



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