National Library Week: The shifting landscape of the digital library

Given the high prices of e-books, the ability to borrow digital materials is a lifesaver, particularly for those on a budget. There are many sites which offer free editions of public domain books, but other than a paid subscription service, for newer books, public libraries are the easiest way to read without paying the high prices publishers are demanding for newer ebooks.

Since library borrows of ebooks are up, it would seem like ebook readers agree. In 2016 alone, OverDrive, one of the leading distributors of digital materials to libraries, announced a total of  196 million borrows worldwide. According to OverDrive, there were 49 libraries surpassed over 1 million borrows each. However since there are a number of digital distributors to libraries, that also means that’s there is not one central source (that I could find, anyway) that has recent numbers for total digital borrows from libraries.

While the ability to borrow ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies and more from the library without leaving your house is definitely convenient, one of the unfortunate realities is that, for a number of reasons, all library experiences are not identical.Depending on your library, their vendors, your preferred device and format choices (Mobi or ePub, audiobook or ebook), the digital library experience can vary considerably.

There are number of library distributors who distribute digital materials to libraries. OverDrive is probably one of the biggest and best known to many patrons, but there are others like 3M cloud and Axis 360. Some, like Hoopla, offer a mixed variety of digital content.There are also a number of vendors that specialize in specific types of content (such as One Click digital for audiobooks, Freegal for music, Zinio and Flipster  for magazines).

Different libraries may use different vendors and/or combination of vendors. That means each library may offer a unique combination of materials and services.

Cost is usually a huge factor in which services libraries offer. For ebooks, publishers charge libraries more than they do individuals to license materials. The pricing structure also varies from service to service. Services like OverDrive use the One Copy/One User lending model. The library can only loan out a finite number of ebooks at one time, depending on how many licenses they have purchased for a particular title.

It is becoming increasingly common to hear stories about libraries changing distributors in order to try to keep cost down. Just this week, the Auburn, Alabama Public Library announced that it is moving from Overdrive to 3M Cloud. Because it is affiliated with book publishers, 3M Cloud offers its services at lower price than OverDrive. The problem is that 3M Cloud content does not work with e-ink Kindles, leaving Kindle readers out in the cold unless they read on their Fire tablet.

Unlike OverDrive, Hoopla allows for simultaneous usage, meaning patrons do not have to wait for a popular title. Because of cost, however, most libraries have a limit on how many Hoopla items can be checked out in a given month. As this article on the CLEVNET library consortium in Ohio  shows, some libraries have had to reduce the number of items available to patrons because of the costs. Like 3M Clud, Hoopla only works on phones and tablets, not on e-ink devices like the Kindle.

The bottom line is, the amount of money available to your library system will determine what your library can offer on the digital front. The best resource for checking what your local library offers is their website. Most libraries list their digital services on their website.

While more ebooks than ever are being offered by local libraries, I still get email from people frustrated that their library does not have a large enough selection of ebooks or titles in a particular genre. While services like the Digital Public Library of America, The Internet Archive and the Open Library have come a long way towards making material available, we are still a long way away from a true national digital public library that can be accessed by everyone.

If you happen to live in a district that either has a small ebook selection or not enough titles in the genres you prefer to read, you may have some options. You may want to check with your library to see if they have reciprocal privileges with other libraries in the county or the state where you live. There are some libraries that offer non-resident cards online or via email for a fee. (There is a list here on Mobileread.com.) The Free Library of Philadelphia and the Brooklyn Public Library are both popular with avid ebook readers and the fee for each is a modest $50.

I personally have cards at both The Free Library of Philadelphia and the Brooklyn Public Library. My local library has very limited options for digital materials. The city library has reciprocal privileges with our county library, but those privileges don’t include access to the county’s fantastic selection of digital materials and even paid out-of-area cards there do not include digital lending . My only choice for a wider selection is to pay for a card somewhere else.

So how about you? What’s your experience been borrowing ebooks from your library?

As we continue #NationalLibraryWeek discussions, tomorrow, we’ll discuss tools for library reading strategies. 🙂

Daily Links and Deals: Overdrive Launches New Library Websites and App

daily_links_1Daily Links for Thursday, November 17,  2016:

8 Android gestures that speed up everyday tasks (PC World) Interesting hacks, although many of them don’t work on phones with older versions of Android.

The FCC Just Caved in to Republican Demands That It Halt Work on Major Issues (Motherboard) This is not good news for net neutrality and breaking the cable company set-top box stranglehold.

Should you buy a new TV online or in the store? (CNET) You can find good deals in both places, but there are some important differences.

Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms now let you create custom templates (Techcrunch) Great news for those who use the G-Tools for business.

Leonard Cohen archives live on at U of T library (The Star) For years, Cohen had been donating his papers to he Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.  Much of the collection is already on display.

Protecting Your Digital Life in 7 Easy Steps (New York Times) Here are some basic steps everyone can use to protect their privacy.

Overdrive Launches New Library Websites and App (Digital Book World) Improved search and the ability to place a hold on to-be-released books are just a few new features.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews.

In Today’s Deals, a Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook – features Celeron 3855U, 4GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, Chrome.

Starting Friday, November 18 at 12:00am ET and concluding at 11:59pm PT, Amazon Prime will be available for just $79.

Amazon also has a great selection of Certified Refurbished devices available. These come with a full one-year warranty. You can find deals on Paperwhites ($80), a Kindle Voyage ($120) and the Amazon Echo ($120) here.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is a tasty collection featuring 30 books from well-known chefs. Prices range from $1.99 to $3.99.  The Romance Daily Find is To Whisper Her Name (Belle Meade Plantation Series #1) by Tamera Alexander.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Redeployment by Phil Klay. The Extra Daily Deal is Nobody’s Child (A Georgia Davis PI Thriller) by Libby Fischer Hellmann.

You can buy 2, get 1 free and save on Fern Michaels’ holiday romance titles until November 30.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One is still out of stock until early 2017.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Crush Saga Box Set by Chrissy Peebles.

Google Books has a selection of Big Deals.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links and Deals: Digital libraries won’t make regular ones obsolete

daily_links_1Daily Links for Thursday, November 3,  2016:

This Chrome extension saves you from default email app horror (The Next Web) Applemail users, this Chrome extension is for you. No more mailto: issues.

Digital libraries won’t make regular ones obsolete (Geektime) How physical and digital books can co-exist in library space.

Sudo lets you change your online identities as easily as flipping a switch (Techcrunch) I manage several business related accounts and being able to switch identities like this would make the job a lot easier.

There’s now one less excuse not to use a password manager (The Verge) LastPass is now free across multiple devices.

OverDrive to Donate Popular Ebooks to 1,000 Elementary Schools (Digital Book World) Overdrive partners with several publisher to donate books for Title-1 programs.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Moonstruck Madness (Dominick Trilogy Book 1) by Laurie McBain.

In Today’s Deals, 60% off luggage and travel gear.

It is also the last day for $20 off select Kindles.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris. The Romance Daily Find is The Sweet By and By by Sara Evans, Rachel Hauck.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is also Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris.The Extra Daily Deal is From Longbourn to Pemberley, The First Year A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Elizabeth Ann West.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One is out of stock.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes This Is a Book by Demetri Martin.

Google Books has a selection of humor books on sale.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Kobo announces Kobo Aura One and revamped Aura Edition 2

Kobo_aura_oneA couple of weeks ago, we got the confirmation that Kobo planned to be releasing a new e-reader in mid-August. Today, Kobo announce not only one, but two new e-readers for their line up.

The big news is the announcement of the Kobo Aura One. The device has a 300 ppi 7.8″ Carta E Ink screen with 8GB of memory. It has an enhanced IPX8 rating making it waterproof for up to 60 minutes in two meters of water. It also features a lighting system called ComfortLight PRO which allows for adjustment of the front-lighting and includes an orange nighttime reading light to cut down on blue light emissions which can interfere with sleep.

One of the most interesting features promised for the new device is the direct integration of OverDrive library software with the Kobo store. OverDrive is owned by Rakuten, Kobo’s parent company and will be available for use in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The simplification of of library borrowing is a big, big plus in favor of this device.

There are already a few early reviews on the tech sites:

The Kobo Aura One will be available for pre-order on August 30, 2016 for $229.99. It will be available in the US on September 6, 2016.Specs and more info on the product page here.

Also announced today was the Kobo Aura Edition 2  The device has a 212 ppi 6″ Carta E Ink screen and seems to be a newer version of the Aura HD. You can see the specs here. The Aura Edition 2 will retail for $119.99 and will also be available for pre-order on August 30, 2016.

Anybody else excited to see how the OverDrive integration works and if it is coming to the other Kobo devices? That’s the feature I’m the most interested in. How about you?

Daily Links and Deals: OverDrive turns 30

daily_links_1Today, OverDrive reflects on turning thirty. Also, another point of view on the billion dollar Getty Images lawsuits, the difference between reading on smartphones and a larger screen, and a study that suggest that too frequent password changes are not a good thing. In deals, savings on Fire HD tablets and the Kobo Glo HD e-reader.

Daily Links for Wednesday, August 3, 2016:

OverDrive celebrates 30 years as the global leader in digital library content (Overdrive) Hard to believe that the service is 30 years old….

Getty Images will bill you thousands to use a photo that belongs to the public. Is that legal? (LA Times) This piece offers a different look at the legal issues involved in the Getty story.

Frequent password changes are the enemy of security, FTC technologist says (Ars Technica) If you change one number, it counts as a new password, right?

The iPad is dead. Long live the iPad. (The Bookseller) A look at reading on larger digital screens. It may have more possibilities than some think.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances by Ellen Cooney.

In Today’s Deals, save up to 53% on Wera tools. Amazon also has the Fire HD 6 (my favorite Fire tablet) for $69.99. The Fire HD 10 Tablet on sale for $50 off.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer. The Romance Daily Find is Too Hot to Handle by Tessa Bailey.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Music Teacher by Barbara Hall. The Extra Daily Deal is Where Wolves Talk (A Fantasy for Animal Lovers) by D. L. Lewis.

Kobo is also having a sale on the Kobo Glo HD: Only $99.99 with free shipping through August 4th. (Note: Kobo is coming out with a new model in mid-August.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Amulet #1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi.

Google Books has a selection of Hot Book Deals.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links and Deals: E-books, why so old-fashioned? Here’s a Web wakeup call

daily_links_1Today, another look at the idea that ebooks should be more interactive. Also, OverDrive looks at making it easier to download library books on a Kobo and more on the role adblockers. In Deals, you can get an unlocked dual sim smartphone and savings of up to 50% off PC accessories.

Daily Links for Tuesday, May 10, 2016:

FTC, FCC want to know more about how carriers and manufacturers issue security updates (Android Central) Right now, it’s just a request for more information, but it is on their radar.

Easier downloads of OverDrive library books coming ‘relatively soon’ for Kobo e-readers and apps (Teleread) This is great news! Now, how soon is soon, LOL?

Why publishers are teaming up to explore time-based selling (Digiday) Will this approach change the way we view online ads?

Reddit’s Technology Subreddit Ponders Banning Wired & Forbes For Blocking Adblock Users (Techdirt) Can you have it both ways? Why should I share your content if you won’t let people see it?

E-books, why so old-fashioned? Here’s a Web wakeup call (CNET) Here we go again. Do you need your ebooks to be more dynamic and interactive? All I want to do is read….

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Unsaid: A Novel by Neil Abramson for $2.99.

In Today’s Deals, there is a BLU Advance 5.0 – Unlocked Dual Sim Smartphone – US GSM and up to 50% off select Logitech PC accessories.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is The Sweet By and By: A Novel by Todd Johnson for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak for $1.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Indebted Series 1-3 Boxed Set by Pepper Winters for  99 cents. The extra Daily Deals is Greenwash: A Katerina Carter Color of Money Mystery (Book 3) by Colleen Cross for $3.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr for $1.99. This is a fascinating sounding tale of the quest for a painting by Italian Baroque master Caravaggio.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.