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Old 12-12-2010, 11:56 PM   #1
tomsem
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Library borrowing and my Kindle reading habits

Recently I purchased an iPod Touch 4G. I have nearly every available ebook reading application on there and can theoretically buy ebooks from any ebook storefront. But it was more of an experiment than anything else, after all, reading on a Kindle is so much more pleasant, isn't it?

Recently, iPhone apps that support Adobe DRM ePub, and library borrowing from Overdrive-powered library web portals have appeared (Bluefire and Overdrive Media Console), and I got a library card at the San Francisco Public Library (available to any CA resident, even those 200 miles away from SF like me). Suddenly, I have an expanding wish list of titles (both ebooks and audiobooks) that I was too much of a spendthrift to purchase, all for 'free' (well, not really. we do pay taxes...). The looming lending period provides powerful motivation, I'm ripping through title after title; my Kindle sits all but abandoned, except for strange experiments (such as reading Adobe DRM'ed Google eBooks with Kindle's web browser..).

Prior to this I was a 'library borrowing skeptic.' "They don't have a big enough selection of things I will want to read." "I won't want to wait." "If I can't read it on my Kindle, I'm not interested." Wrong, all wrong!!

The fact is, there is plenty of stuff available for borrowing at any given time that I want to read, or am willing to wait for, as long as I don't have to pay for it (did I mention that I'm a spendthrift?). And my iPod goes to all those places my Kindle does not, requires no external light (in 'night mode', throws off far less light than my Kindle with a book light). With my new reading glasses, tiny text is no problem at all (backlight never was a problem for me, and after a few weeks with my new toy, I'm used to its power 'feeding schedule', and fingerprints don't bother me anymore). Audiobooks that I was not willing to spend an Audible credit for are suddenly attractive to me.

Anyway, I'm questioning everything about my relationship to my Kindle. I expect it will all balance out eventually, but in the meantime, I don't know where this is leading.

Anybody else have a similar experience? Advice?

Last edited by tomsem; 12-12-2010 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:21 AM   #2
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I get a fair chunk of my e-reading material from my library rather than buying, because unless a book/author is a proven "keeper" to me, I don't care how cheap a bargain it is, I won't spend actual money unless it's something I would have probably bought anyway.

The library is great because it lets me try stuff and discover new authors/titles whose works I might one day get if they go to the aforementioned bargain prices.

I have this ever-growing Wishlist which takes forever to load because every time a book looks even vaguely interesting, I click to add in case I might like to read it later when I've a free borrowing space, and my five alloted Holds slots are almost always full of the stuff I absolutely want to try first.

I'm a lot more willing to try certain stuff I probably wouldn't have even in paper at the library, simply because it's so easily portable and I don't have to lug it back and forth if I decide it's not worth my time. Just delete the uninteresting file.

I have my loan period automatically set to 7 days to help free up stuff to recirculate and frequently use the Return Borrowed Item feature of ADE to open up a slot for something new. I try never to keep more than 2 Mobi or audiobooks on my account because they can't be returned early (aargh!).

I love my library, both for e-books and hardcopy, and it's one of the things I'm really happy that my tax dollars are going towards (unlike spending $6 million on the legal fees of persons pretty much convicted of defrauding the province, or a half-billion on a retractable stadium roof that doesn't close under weather conditions we encounter very frequently in this area while cutting health care and education funding again and again, grrr).

My advice: if you love the selection of your library and the ease-of-reading features of your Kindle, go forth and strip and convert and feel no qualms because this is how your tax dollars are supposed to work.

And you want to support your public library anyway by giving them some solid numbers they can point at for patron usage, without which your local government will probably try to cut funding, like ours did until the protests hit them.

Every user helps them grow, at least until the budget cuts come along.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:57 AM   #3
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I'm all for making use of libraries and, before I got into the Kindle, I was a heavy library user.

I do belong to an overdrive ebook library and use it mainly for audiobooks because Kindle doesn't natively support library books.

But, part of the fun for me with all this is that I love to build up a collection of books. I also enjoy cataloging those books using Calibre. So library books alone would never be enough for me - I like the sense of ownership. And, unlike tree-books, I can easily store thousands of ebooks with no space issues.

It's about finding what works for you. If library books satisfy your reading completely - great. If not there are plenty of alternatives.

Two things I will always spend my spare money on - gadgets and books. And I never consider either a waste because of the enjoyment I get.

Happy reading OP
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:25 AM   #4
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My advice is this.

Reading for the most part is entertainment - correct?
So if what you are enjoying right now is checking out Overdrive Library books and reading them on your iPod, then that is what you should do. There is nothing wrong with that.

You can't cheat on a Kindle. There is no vow of exclusivity.
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:31 PM   #5
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I agree with everyone here...

I have not yet experimented with Overdrive, mostly because I have a Kindle and I am uncertain of the availability of books through my local library or converting them.

I am one of those, though that doesn't really like to buy a book unless it's a keeper, yet I am also one of those that does enjoy ownership... I walk a tightrope right now with the Kindle because I am definitely buying and experimenting more (bargain books, free books, etc) than I ever did in the past (avid library user, borrow from family, etc.)

Buying is definitely easier with the Kindle as is storage. A hard drive is always roughly the same size, and I think it is mostly bookshelf space that drove my habits before.

Never-the-less, I like the idea of libraries because I tend to read most books once, at least from the fiction side of things and could benefit financially of using the library more. Yet, I've found some wonderful books thanks to the bargain and freebies and will likely do the same once I try the library out more myself.

Last, I am curious about the S.F. Library mentioned as I am a California resident, and I imagine that their selection far outweighs what is available to me in Yolo County.
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:42 PM   #6
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Actually, it sounds like you are the exact opposite of a spendthrift (spendthrift: a person who spends money carelessly or wastefully; squanderer).
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:01 PM   #7
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I am in the exact opposite situation as the OP, but have the same questions.

I have been a long time library patron who maximized use of all the interlibrary loan option out there. WorldCat is a wonderful thing. However, last Christmas my MIL got me an iPod touch and since then I have acquired and used just about every ereader app out there. I also truly believe that my tax dollars are used to support the library, so I have had no problem with checking out ebooks from all 4 of the Overdrive libraries I have access to and reading them on my touch. Bluefire and OMC have changed the landscape for reading library books on iOS devices in just the last two weeks. They've just eliminated a couple of steps from the process.

However, my MIL was careless with her shopping list this year and I am pretty sure I'm getting a Nook for Christmas. That takes care of the library issue there. So I got my wife to try a Nook in the store the other day and she hated the touch screen. Figures. So it looks like she'll prefer the Kindle. She really wants the 3G option so she can surf the Net while we drive back and forth to the inlaws' house.

So, all of a sudden, it looks like I'm going to have more ereaders then I ever thought possible. But I'm comfortable with Calibre and I really don't have a worry about the format issues.

As it turns out, one of the brick and mortar libraries I belong to is having an ereader fair tonight. I'm gonna go play dumb and see how much they actually know about the subject. It could be fun.
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Old 12-13-2010, 08:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emalvick View Post
I a

Last, I am curious about the S.F. Library mentioned as I am a California resident, and I imagine that their selection far outweighs what is available to me in Yolo County.
There's a wiki page here that lists libraries that lend ebooks:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/EBook_Lending_Libraries

The following (at least) are available to any residents of CA, and they seem to have the largest collections as well (probably due to state funding):

Los Angeles County
Los Angeles (City)
Pasadena
Sacramento
San Francisco
San Jose
Northern CA Digital Library (Bay Area) - some of these accept CA residency

At least for SFPL, you can fill out an application online, but you have to visit in person to verify CA residency and get a card. And yes, where Yolo County has 292 fiction titles, SF has 3320 (but a good 20-30% of those are in Chinese, which unfortunately I cannot read).

I hope to add the San Jose to my choices next time I'm there, if not NCDL.
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:18 PM   #9
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I live in Bay Area and have access to San Jose and Santa Clara overdrive, and their selection is decent, but not amazing.

New releases only have a few copies and they always get mass wait listed >>
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:52 AM   #10
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My Kindle has been pretty much abandoned since I got access to the Philly library and my local library started getting ePubs this year. I'm still downloading Kindle freebies and cheap indies that look interesting, but I'm mostly reading library books on my iThings and new Sonys. I don't mind being waitlisted for hot books at the library; I waited 2 or 3 months for my shot at "Fall of Giants" and while I liked it, I'm very glad I didn't spend $20 to have the Kindle version on release day. Someday I'll get back to my ever-growing TBR list on my Kindle, but it doesn't look like it's going to be any time soon.

Last edited by NNolan; 12-14-2010 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:19 AM   #11
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It is that most wonderful time of year where people get gifts. Ask for a Nook or Kobo for Christmas. That way you have an e-reader for the library.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:59 AM   #12
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I occasionally find interesting library books so I either strip, convert and read them on my Kindle or now that the Android Overdrive app is out I can read them on my Pocketbook IQ. The only issue is that reading for more than a few minutes off a LCD screen tires my eyes. Even computer monitors are tiring for reading more than a few minutes at a stretch.

What I want is an Android eInk device.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:35 PM   #13
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I just thought of something - obviously, immoral or illegal or....

But the fact that a PUBLIC library loans books in a format that is restricted to certain readers might be grounds for, well, de-drm-ing them. Not to violate the length of the borrowing period but to read them on a comfortable reader in an arm chair rather than at a pc, at a desk.

After all, as long as a real book is printed in a language I can read, I can just borrow and read it. Why should there be an artificial restriction on ebooks and the brand of reader used to read them?

Just another way of improperly looking at things.
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:03 PM   #14
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don't see why amazon doesn't just release an overdrive-only application for reading them.
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
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don't see why amazon doesn't just release an overdrive-only application for reading them.
Because they want people to buy books from them. Not borrow library books.

It's the same reason they don't mind that the "free" book section of their site is full of badly formatted junk, and many PD books are sold many times over.

Quote:
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I just thought of something - obviously, immoral or illegal or....

But the fact that a PUBLIC library loans books in a format that is restricted to certain readers might be grounds for, well, de-drm-ing them. Not to violate the length of the borrowing period but to read them on a comfortable reader in an arm chair rather than at a pc, at a desk.
Well, many (or at least some) authors think that libraries are immoral (though not illegal). They only get one sale of their book, yet hundreds of people read it. Those sales are "lost" just as much as the sales that are supposedly lost to piracy (which is in the eye of the beholder), but perfectly legal.

And then on top of that, when the demand is over, the library just sells the book, directly competing with sales of new copies. (Okay okay, by then it usually has a lot of wear and tear, but anyone who has been to a used book store has no doubt found a lot of former library copies).

I'm not sure what my point is, other than you pretty much have to decide what you find moral or not, and live with your conscience.
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