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Old 05-12-2010, 10:36 AM   #1
Khendron
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eBooks from the library —waiting waiting

I've been looking at the eBook selection at the Ottawa Public Library. Although the selection is somewhat limited, I am guessing that it will increase over time.

What are people's experiences with other libraries?

One problem I am having getting eBooks from the OPL is that most of the eBooks have a waiting list. Like dead-tree books, I guess the library will only lend out a limited number of copies of an eBook at one time.

That's OK, I can wait. Unlike a dead-tree book, however, I cannot return an eBook to the library as soon as I have finished it. The full lending period must expire before the eBook is sent back to circulation. So although dead-tree waiting lists tend to move fairly quickly, because many people return the books early, the eBook waiting lists crawl.

I can, when I check the eBook out, set the lending period to 7, 14 or 21 days. But most people will automatically choose the 21 day lending period, just to be safe. I might be tempted to choose the 7 day lending period, if I was able to renew the checkout after 7 days in case I haven't finished the book. But renewals are not possible.

Looks like, then, there are some kinks to be worked out in the eBook lending model at the OPL. I am hoping to see this evolve for the better over time.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:43 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khendron View Post
I've been looking at the eBook selection at the Ottawa Public Library. Although the selection is somewhat limited, I am guessing that it will increase over time.

What are people's experiences with other libraries?

One problem I am having getting eBooks from the OPL is that most of the eBooks have a waiting list. Like dead-tree books, I guess the library will only lend out a limited number of copies of an eBook at one time.

That's OK, I can wait. Unlike a dead-tree book, however, I cannot return an eBook to the library as soon as I have finished it. The full lending period must expire before the eBook is sent back to circulation. So although dead-tree waiting lists tend to move fairly quickly, because many people return the books early, the eBook waiting lists crawl.

I can, when I check the eBook out, set the lending period to 7, 14 or 21 days. But most people will automatically choose the 21 day lending period, just to be safe. I might be tempted to choose the 7 day lending period, if I was able to renew the checkout after 7 days in case I haven't finished the book. But renewals are not possible.

Looks like, then, there are some kinks to be worked out in the eBook lending model at the OPL. I am hoping to see this evolve for the better over time.
What vendor is the OPL using to backend their digital library services? OverDrive? The Toronto Public Library uses OverDrive. Selection is decent but growing. It's filled with a lot of trashy romance novels, so I'm assuming they aimed the initial load at people who might be embarrassed to physically check these out. What I find most annoying is that on the web site, I can't filter by media type (i.e. only want to see ePub books), but I can do this using the mobile web site from my BlackBerry.

You can actually return books ahead of the expiration date., but you have to use Adobe Digital Editions (only works for PDF and ePub books, Mobipocket books will need to expire if anyone is using that format on another device). In ADE, click the dropdown menu arrow on the book cover, and click the return to library option. Done!
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:01 AM   #3
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I've got a non-resident card for the Philadelphia Free Library and while their selection isn't huge it does seem to be growing. I do notice that a lot of books have a wait and most have only one or two copies. I do wish for the new books they're adding they'd go all ePub (or both), but they do add some books as PDF only. They default to 21 days, but I always choose 7. It's too bad they don't default it to 7 and make you pick the longer, but... It would be nice if you could somehow manually return the books too.



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It's filled with a lot of trashy romance novels, so I'm assuming they aimed the initial load at people who might be embarrassed to physically check these out.
I don't remember where I saw the stats, but Romances are the top selling genre for ebooks. Makes sense that they'd have more Romance than anything else.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
I've got a non-resident card for the Philadelphia Free Library and while their selection isn't huge it does seem to be growing. I do notice that a lot of books have a wait and most have only one or two copies. I do wish for the new books they're adding they'd go all ePub (or both), but they do add some books as PDF only. They default to 21 days, but I always choose 7. It's too bad they don't default it to 7 and make you pick the longer, but... It would be nice if you could somehow manually return the books too.
Even with digital, the library still has limited license to the number of copies of a book. That's why they can only lend out a handful (3-5 it seems for most titles I've seen) at a time despite there not really being the same physical limitation.

On TPL's OverDrive, you can set a personal preference for the default loan period (7, 14, or 21 days; 21 being the default). Dig around, maybe PFL or OPL has a similar option buried in your preferences. Manual book return through ADE if PFL uses that as well.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:15 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by CoopersTroopers View Post
Even with digital, the library still has limited license to the number of copies of a book. That's why they can only lend out a handful (3-5 it seems for most titles I've seen) at a time despite there not really being the same physical limitation.
Oh, I know. It's just that sense they're one of the few places you can buy non-resident access from they seem to get a lot of traffic, but they don't seem to be buying more 'copies' (they have 1 or 2 for most) to compensate for it.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:45 AM   #6
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What I find most annoying is that on the web site, I can't filter by media type (i.e. only want to see ePub books), but I can do this using the mobile web site from my BlackBerry.
You can filter by type, in both the basic and advanced search, there's a drop-down list right that will let you select "Adobe EPUB eBook".

I'm also using the Toronto Public Library. 411 ePubs, currently growing at about 50 every 2-3 weeks (that number has been ramping up over time). I'd say about 60% romance, and 85-90% new releases - very few catalog/backlist titles. I hope they start expanding that backlist soon.
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:21 PM   #7
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What vendor is the OPL using to backend their digital library services? OverDrive? The Toronto Public Library uses OverDrive.
The OPL is also using OverDrive. I guess I should be able to return books through ADE also. Thanks for the tip, I will check it out when I get home. How does ADE inform the library that the book has been returned?
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:24 PM   #8
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Manual book return through ADE if PFL uses that as well.
Cool, thanks for the tip. I was just able to return two books early so someone else can get them.
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:26 PM   #9
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At my library here in the states I don't have the 21 day option. Only 7 or 14 days.

I have no idea how ADE informs the library but I almost always return books early so I assume something is sent to Overdrive.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:02 PM   #10
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The OPL is also using OverDrive. I guess I should be able to return books through ADE also. Thanks for the tip, I will check it out when I get home. How does ADE inform the library that the book has been returned?
When you download a book from Kobo or from the library's website, you don't actually get the book itself. I get an .acsm file. This file is basically just an XML file which gives ADE the information on where the book is, what type of license you have (i.e. borrowed or purchased), expiration, transaction information, etc. ADE then connects to the server where the book is and provides your ADE license info to the server, which then gives ADE the book.

Returning is likely very similar to how ADE authorizes the book. Returning a book likely requires an internet connection (try to do it while disconnected to verify). ADE would contact the server (all this information is probably stored with the book or in an internal database), passes over transaction records, and says you are done with the book. The store/library can then release the book back out.
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