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Old 08-11-2008, 11:38 PM   #1
astrodad
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Digital Editions and the public library

Well I finally had a chance to go to my county's public library website (Broward, FL) and I saw that they offer Adobe PDF and Mobipocket ebooks for checkout and download to portable devices.

Their PDF books use Adobe Digital Editions and I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to get books on my 505. Aside from the poor selection (only 327 books in PDF format), the process was painless.

I added a book to my Cart, then checked out. The download launched ADE which authorized the book, then I hooked up the Reader and dragged it over to the PRS-505 bookshelf. Done.

Of course the format is a little funky, it being a re-flowed PDF and all, but it's not half bad.

One thing that confused me was that some books could not be checked out. They were marked unavailable, and had to be put on hold. How dumb is that? They're supposed to be eBooks, right?

Still, Kudos to my library for trying something cool.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:28 AM   #2
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Really interesting. Do you have to pay anything? How long can you keep them? I assume you have to become a member of the library. Does that mean you have to live near the library?
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:06 AM   #3
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The library is under certain licensing restrictions as to how many books it "lends" at a given time. For instance, if it buys a license to lend 3 copies of a certain book, that is what it can lend at any given time. After a certain amount of time (I think it is usually 21 days), your downloaded "borrowed" book expires and the library is free to "lend" it to someone else.
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Old 08-12-2008, 02:32 AM   #4
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I've been downloading audiobooks from my local library for quite awhile now. And now, I've just finished reading my first Adobe Digital Edition on my Sony. I'm so glad we have this available to us now!! Jplumey's right, the PDF reflow makes it a little funky--strange page breaks, etc--but it's free, so I'm not complaining.

Charlieperry--it depends on the library. They usually require you have a library card before they'll let you download books. I live in California, and from what I can tell, I can get a library card for almost any library in California--some places are more restrictive.

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Old 08-12-2008, 07:42 AM   #5
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Not to mention that recent titles are avilable and you can even put a request to reserve these books - just like a physical book. But, I still can't wrap my head around the idea that the license only allows certain number of copies of the book at checked out anytime ( 6 copies) I thought, moving into the digital releam, we would be allowed more freedom, but restrictions are set.

I understand DRM etc. but why does it matter how many copies of the book(s) are checked out? Why do people have to wait for these books to show up the virtual shelf. The whole point of virtual library and e-books is instant and convenient consumption?
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn99 View Post
Not to mention that recent titles are avilable and you can even put a request to reserve these books - just like a physical book. But, I still can't wrap my head around the idea that the license only allows certain number of copies of the book at checked out anytime ( 6 copies) I thought, moving into the digital releam, we would be allowed more freedom, but restrictions are set.

I understand DRM etc. but why does it matter how many copies of the book(s) are checked out? Why do people have to wait for these books to show up the virtual shelf. The whole point of virtual library and e-books is instant and convenient consumption?
Yes but the whole point of copyright is to create an artificial scarcity so that publishers can charge monopoly prices. It would defeat the purpose of copyright if libraries were exempt - even though it would mean many people could enjoy the book simultaneously instead of erecting waiting lines were none need exist.

But I'm thankful that libraries are embracing ebooks even if they have to abide by silly rules.

Last edited by RobbieClarken; 08-12-2008 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:53 AM   #7
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Having a restricted number of books to 'lend' by a library is a flawed model unless you consider that some, unwilling to wait, will pop over to their favorite ebookstore and buy it.

Generally, though, if I want something I check the library first, and if it is available I'll wait. Even Cleveland's library though, at around 8,800 ebooks , has far fewer than fictionwise. And included in the Cleveland number are all categories, including many I have no interest in.

So the limit would suggest the ebook publishers are trying to get more money directly from impatient people with money to spend rather than license/lending fees from the library. One reason for library limitations may be so the library doesn't have overwhelming fees in a single month for popular authors - limiting access would suggest monthly or quarterly lending/licensing fees would be at a predictable level.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:15 AM   #8
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They let you check it out for 21 days. What's kind of neat is that the Reader shows a little clock next to the book title with the number of days left. I was rather surprised by that.

I never stepped to think about the licensing issues behind libraries. I always considered them to be sort of a "freebie" by the publisher, but now I see that's just silly. I understand the reasoning, it's just weird to think of a "limited download".
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:05 AM   #9
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I don't even think libraries own most of their popular fiction. Think about a Stephen King, DaSilva, Nora Roberts.... A small library may only want to own 2-3 copies of any popular fiction for the long term, but need 30 copies during the peak demand period when a book after the book is released. The solution is to rent 27 copies, not own them, and send them back when the peak demand begins to subside. If I'm not mistaken, I think there are some publishers that may even show a book as a library edition on the copyright page.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn99 View Post
I understand DRM etc. but why does it matter how many copies of the book(s) are checked out? Why do people have to wait for these books to show up the virtual shelf. The whole point of virtual library and e-books is instant and convenient consumption?
For the same reason that when you buy 1 copy of Microsoft Word it can only be used by one person, or installed on 1 machine. Because that is what you legally agreed to.

A single purchased digital copy of a book has to be treated the same way as a physical book. Only 1 person can use it at a time. You are not allowed to Xerox it so others can read it to... that is a copyright violation!

I'm not sure why this is "hard to wrap your head around"!?

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Old 08-12-2008, 11:18 AM   #11
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But, I still can't wrap my head around the idea that the license only allows certain number of copies of the book at checked out anytime ( 6 copies) I thought, moving into the digital releam, we would be allowed more freedom, but restrictions are set.
Here's another example.

I digitally transfer $1000 from my savings account to my checking account. I go online and spend $10,000 because that $1000 is just digital... it can certainly be copied very easily and I just spent the digital copy 10 times. Why is that a problem? This is the digital releam... it should be easy just to copy the money and send it to the 10 vendors... no?

Also, for some reason $1000 was deducted from my savings account. Does that make sense... I just wanted to copy $1000 of the digital money in my savings account to my checking... I didn't want to delete the $1000 digital from my savings. This is just NOT right.

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Old 08-12-2008, 11:24 AM   #12
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If you live in New York or pay New York property taxes you can apply for a NYC Public Library card and have access to hundreds of the latest fiction in Adobe PDF format as well as Mobipocket. If you are not a NY resident you can still apply and obtain a card for the low, low fee of $100 per year. I am seriously considering it.
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:03 PM   #13
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It took about two weeks for my NYPL card to arrive (I live in Louisville, KY). I downloaded my first book and am thrilled with the number of ebook offerings in the library. $100/year is a tremendous bargain!
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:05 PM   #14
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Well, I've checked the NY library - Cleveland has a much more extensive collection (I think e-books only are around 8,800 volumes, audiobooks are separate and I'm guessing around 4,000). Getting a card is restricted to permanent Ohio residents or people in Ohio for 6 weeks or longer - http://www.cpl.org/index.php?q=node/34.

Maybe some out of state folks can e-mail to them suggesting something like NY - fee based for out of state (which should make sense, they shouldn't care if they are funded by property taxes or other fees).
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Old 08-12-2008, 02:04 PM   #15
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Nice heads-up. There's a NYPL on my block--got my (free) library card on the spot!

For getting "borrowed" books onto the Reader, here are the steps:

# Download the Adobe DE software (there's a link on the Sony Reader upgrade page) and install
# Start the DE software and register with Adobe DE (e-mail address, some other info, and a password) [Note: The DE app is like another version of the Sony Library]
# Connect the Reader to your pc via USB. A dialog box will open asking if you want to register the Reader with Adobe DE. Do it.
# Visit a library that offers Adobe DE books (like NYPL.org) and check out an available book. (You usually need a library account/card for this.) There will be an option to save the file or open with Adobe DE. Choose to open with DE. The book will appear on the DE bookshelf screen.
# Drag the book onto the Reader folder on the left (just like in Sony Library).

That's it! As someone above mentioned, a little clock will be on the right of the listing in the Reader menu, indicating how many days are left.

Just from a quick browse, I discovered that there is a new 'Foundation Trilogy' authored by three different writers (Greg Bear and a couple of others). I'm gonna check this out as soon as I finish up my current reading!

Last edited by DrMoze; 08-14-2008 at 01:38 PM.
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