Chances are very good that someone you know will receive an e-reader this holiday. That is, if they didn’t already get one last holiday, or for their birthday, or for Valentine’s Day, or for an anniversary.
That someone could even be you, and that e-reader could be something specifically designed for reading books, or it could be a tablet computer that does a dozen other things. And don’t forget that smart phone in your pocket. It will probably let you read e-books and listen to audio books as well.
While many e-readers and tablets are designed to make it easy to buy books online, did you know you may also be able to borrow e-books from your local public library? That’s right. You can get them at your library for no extra charge. Your tax dollars are already supporting your local library, so why not take advantage of their e-book offerings?
An article in USA Today Wednesday highlighted this increasingly common public library service. It even offers a link to a series of lessons on how to “cope with the technical peculiarities of library e-books.” (Note: the lessons are Windows-centric, but even if you’re an Apple fan boy or girl, there’s good information here.)
So which Oklahoma public libraries offer e-books and audio books through their websites for check out? According to information from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, seven of the state’s eight library systems offer the service. Here they are:
- Chickasaw Regional Library System serving Atoka, Carter, Johnston, Love and Murray counties;
- Eastern Oklahoma District Library System serving Adair, Cherokee, Delaware, McIntosh, Muskogee and Sequoyah counties;
- Metropolitan Library System serving Oklahoma County;
- Pioneer Library System serving Cleveland, McClain and Pottawatomie counties;
- Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma serving Choctaw, Coal, Haskell, Latimer, LeFlore, McCurtain and Pittsburg counties;
- Tulsa City-County Library System serving Tulsa County; and,
- Western Plains Library System serving Custer, Dewey, Roger Mills and Washita counties.
The Chickasaw system gets its downloadable e-book and audio book service through the OK Virtual Library, a consortium of public libraries in the state that have joined together to offer digital collections. You’ll also find 16 additional municipal libraries—from Miami to Guymon, Stillwater to Mustang, Enid to Duncan—that offer electronic and audio books through the OK Virtual Library. They offer books in ePub, Kindle, and audio formats. Plus, the list of participating libraries is growing!
(Update 11/18/11: Stillwater Public Library, which coordinates OK Virtual Library, has announced that six additional municipal libraries will “go live” with e-book and audio book downloads on November 28. Those libraries are in Ada, Alva, Durant, Marlow, Pryor and Vinita. So that brings the total to 22 municipal libraries with the service.)
If you don’t see your local library listed, check with the staff and see if they are planning the service in the future. With so many e-readers under the tree this year, it’s only a matter of time before you can “check-out” a digital book at your library.
You gotta love this Library YouTube Break! It’s a video produced by Oklahoma’s Pioneer Library System and it’s sweeping through the global library world. It’s shown up on BoingBoing, and lots of other places. It’s even on the French site iD Boox! (How cool is that?)
Libraries and taxpayers are stewing over publisher HarperCollins plans to limit the check-out of e-books to library customers. After 26 check outs, the library would have to buy a new copy, cause, like, that’s about when the library would have to replace a popular print title. Considering the traditional two-week check out time at libraries, that’s a year’s worth of circulation.
We talked about this in our earlier post, The E-Book Headache. And now we found out about this great video.
Watch, enjoy, and then continue down for more comments:
Can you believe it!? One of those books has been checked out 120 times! And it looks pretty darn good. (Makes me wonder about the copy of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest that I’ve been reading. It looks like it’s traveled through a war zone! Wonder how many times it’s been checked out?)
Look, we get it. The economy’s bad and this new format threatens the bottom line, demanding that book publishers find ways to make a buck and prevent book piracy. The economy’s bad, and in this age of austerity, libraries and taxpayers need to save a buck.
Obviously, what’s called for is a new, fair and reasonable business model for libraries to acquire e-books for their community.
It’s getting pretty nasty out there as the debate continues, and one blogger with The Atlantic is even calling for a HarperCollins boycott.
You can follow the developing story, and all the news and views on this Google news page.
With that in mind, let’s go!
• Sony is oh, so serious about this. Sony Corp. expands their digital Reader Library program to 30 more libraries across the country. Notice in the press release that Oklahoma’s Pioneer Library System is set to join the program.
• Harper-Collins is way too serious about this. Meanwhile, Harper-Collins and OverDrive are facing a backlash after announcing they will limit the number of times an e-book may be lent to 26. The reasoning: print copies wear out and have to be replaced, so e-books should have a planned obsolescence. (Really?! Wow, what Vance Packard could do with this!) The Pioneer Library System takes the publisher to task in this open letter, calling the plan, forced obsolescence.
• The New York Times tries to make it simple with this graphic showing the economics of producing a book.
• CJ Cherryh and fellow authors have their own plan! One of our favorite Oklahoma authors, Cherryh (now a Washington state resident), has joined with authors Jane Fancher and Lynn Abbey to offer e-book versions of their out-of-print titles on the website Closed Circle. You go, girls!!
We’re sure there’s much more out there, but all of this E-book talk is really giving us a headache!
The New Year always makes me want to be a kinder gentler person. Well, at least until February. I’ve been reading all your B&N Nook comments, and while I believe the more critical ones are justified, I’ve decided to give them a break. Hey, a million plus ebooks were downloaded Christmas Day! And all I was doing Christmas Day was sitting around in “fat” clothes & wondering why I had eaten so much the previous evening. So B & N, you’re off the hook with me, unless at a later opportunity all downloading goes awry and I’ve paid through my credit card (information which you extorted from me to get an ebook account) and my Nook doesn’t light up with reading material.
So along with my new attitude, I’ve also decided to accept (until proven wrong) that a book, is a book, is a book, and try all different ways to read this year, from Nook Books, to AudioBooks, to the Book Book. Just last week, while engaged in a tedious computer chore I put in the audiobook of Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre and read by John Lee. First unlike with a BookBook, it is very important to have a good reader for your audiobook. John Lee does a nice job. The story is fascinating, I’m not very far along but I think this might be my way of “reading” more nonfiction, and I like spy stories, albeit this one is true.
Here’s the Audio Book Summary from Audio Book Store:
Agent Montagu tells the story as only an insider could, offering fascinating details of the difficulties involved – especially in creating a persona for a man who never was – and of his profession as a spy and the risks involved in mounting such a complex operation. Failure could have had devastating results. Success, however, brought a decided change in the course of the war.
Disclaimer: I am not affliated with the Audio Book Store, and have never purchased or used any of their products or services. The copy of Operation Mincemeat that I’m listening to came from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries.
So the year has begun, reading and readers continue no matter the format, I approve.