Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big Changes on the eBook Scene, part 1

That headline would fit just about any week, but it's especially true now that the Amazon Kindle eReader can be used with almost all of the eBook titles in the New Hampshire Downloadable Books (NHDB) collection. This has been in the works since April, as I wrote in an earlier post. Last Friday, the promised compatibility became reality. Kindle owners are very happy.

We considered offering a training session for Kindle owners, but the steps to check out and download are so simple, that they should be easy for an experienced Kindle user to understand. I strongly recommend that you read Amazon's Help page on the subject and also use the step-by-step instructions at the My Help (beta) link on the NHDB site. You won't need to download Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) as do the people with all other readers. But you will need a valid (not expired and no delinquencies) Merrimack Public Library card. If your card doesn't work, call the library at 424-5021 and we'll figure out what the problem is. If we find that a training session or two is needed, we'll certainly see what we can do to squeeze something into the schedule.

With the addition of Kindle users to the crowd of people clamoring for library eBooks, we expect that the number of titles available to borrow at any given time will be fairly low. This is what we saw right after Christmas, too. Since then, the number of eBook titles in NHDB has doubled, but demand has increased, too. To help our patrons get high-demand titles sooner, Merrimack Library has subscribed to Overdrive Advantage, which adds copies of those titles for the exclusive use of our patrons. See my Sept. 12 post to learn how this works. The NHDB collection continues to grow each week (tip: new titles are added on Fridays), but it may take some time until there are enough titles in the collection to satisfy everyone. Also, there are major publishers that are not yet selling their eBooks to libraries, but I'm hoping that will be the next big change.

The skill level with eReaders varies among the Reference Librarians. Some of us have eReaders and some don't. However, we'll all make every effort to help you as quickly as possible. If you email or call, be sure you give us specific information about your problem, such as what device you're using, what title, and exactly what is (or is not) happening. We hope you enjoy the convenience of Kindle library books.

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