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Old 06-26-2004, 01:41 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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Ebook Lending Libraries

We all know about some of the sites that offer great books NOT under copywrite. Well, Fictionwise is now offering a lending library solution for libraries at http://www.libwise.com/home.htm which goes one step further in terms of making content available via the web. It reminded me to check on my public library.

Some local public libraries in the US have ebook lending, but you have to ask. And even when you ask, the librarians may not know about it. Book selection seems to vary by library, even if they use the same lending service.

My local library has the NetLibrary service (http://www.oclc.org/netlibrary/default.htm), but there aren't any of my favorite authors there like Grisham, Mary Higgens Clark, etc. They have a custom online pdf book reader that runs from a browser, and you are supposed to be able to check out books. Don't know how that checkout works yet, but I've submitted a help request to netlibrary for help. They have a lot of tech books on stuff like Oracle and Java etc, so it would be nice if they really do have a way to read pdf offline (on my PDA version of Acrobat Reader even).

Anyone else have some scoop on ebook libraries? I suspect there are some independent ones out there that charge a small fee for access and let you check out ebooks in PDA formats that expire after a certain timeframe. That's definitely a no hassle library return! I'd be interested to know what ebook libraries are out there and what sort of content/price combinations they have.

Allow me to rant for a moment... Hopefully, those power-hungry content rights folks won't muck this up for all of us by restricting it so much that it's useless to the average person! Okay, thanks, I'm done. Feel much better.

I'll update this when I hear back from the NetLibrary service.
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Old 06-26-2004, 02:55 PM   #2
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My university subscribes to netlibrary. After reading your post, I decided that I should probably finally check it out. They have 3,407 publicly available books, and it looks like ~500 that my univ pays for which seem to be in ranges from health to public policy -- both big prof schools on campus.

The publicly available books seem to be just that -- and they even source Project Gutenberg for many of them.

I suppose that if your library doesn't subscribe to the materials you want, you're SOL. Maybe your local library coughs up for more than my university... Who knows?
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Old 06-28-2004, 07:46 PM   #3
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Well, I got some bad news for me. While NetLibrary does allow book checkouts, my library has not opted for that option. So I'd have to read online. If anyone has looked at their interface, they know it's a relatively painful process unless you've got a gigantic screen, I suppose. Oh well.

BTW, you ever notice how words like "copyright" become "copywrite" when you are typing fast. (See my previous post!) Funny thing how the mind works.... or doesn't.
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Old 06-30-2004, 02:50 AM   #4
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Bob, I agree, their interface is not the most user-friendly one. Actually, I was thinking if it was possible to write a script that would actually download an online-book from NetLibrary. Of course, only for private use
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