What should I look for when buying a device to read eBooks?
There are a number of different factors that you will need to consider.
1. Is the device or eBook reader compatible with our collection of downloadable eBooks?
You can view a list of compatible devices on Overdrive's Device Resource Center (our eLibrary supplier).
If your device is not listed it may have been tested already and found not to be compatible with library eBooks.
Note: Kindle readers (except for the Kindle Fire HD – an Android powered tablet) are currently not compatible with library eBooks in Australia due to Amazon’s licensing and format restrictions.
2. Is the device comfortable to hold for long periods of time?
Can you change the font size easily? Are the controls easy to use, whether they are accessed by buttons or a touchscreen?
3. Do you want an eBook reader with an e-ink screen?
The properties of e-ink can be found in this article for PC Mag.
- e-ink is easier on the eyes – it replicates a printed page from a book.
- It has a long battery life – it only uses power when you press the screen to turn a page.
- Works well in bright sunlight – there is no screen glare when reading.
- e-ink readers with wi-fi may not display internet pages very well – it is often difficult to navigate an internet page via the e-ink screen.
4. Do you want an eBook reader for the primary purpose of reading eBooks or do you want to surf the web, read and write emails, watch movies, play online games, download music etc?
Basic eReader (Sony Reader, Kobo Reader) – Easy to handle, less expensive than tablets but limited functions. Also limited in capability to download eBooks directly to the device.
Tablets (iPad, Samsung Tablet, Kindle Fire HD, Sony Tablet) – Have a number of extra features plus the ability to download eAudiobooks from the eLibrary. Able to download directly to the device via a wi-fi connection or through the 3G network. However they are heavier and more expensive than a basic eReader – the introduction of ‘mini tablets’ with 7” screens solves the heaviness factor but they are still more expensive than basic eReaders. Battery life is limited (can vary between 6 and 13 hours according to the device) – you will need to make sure that the device is recharged on a regular basis.
For more information on what device to choose and that will fit your particular needs go to your local branch to access ‘Choice Online’ from our ‘Online Resources’ page. A search on ‘eBook Readers’ and ‘Tablet Computers’ will bring up the latest reviews of the devices available.
You should also go along to your local electronics store to use their demo products to compare and contrast the different devices.
Why am I unable to find my favourite authors in the eLibrary?
The licencing terms of eBooks to libraries varies from publisher to publisher. Many of the larger publishers have imposed strict limitations on what titles and what authors are made available to our eLibrary supplier.
An added complication is the imposition of geographical rights restrictions on titles. So while a publisher may allow a title to be made available to an American library the same title is not available to us here in Australia.
Can I suggest that the library purchase an eBook/eAudiobook for the eLibrary?
You can recommend titles via the eLibrary by signing in with your library number and PIN and then looking for a particular title or author via the advanced search and selecting the ‘Additional titles to recommend’ button. Suggestions are evaluated according to our Collection Development Policy and purchases will depend on the availability of the items suggested.
Are there any fees or charges for using the eLibrary?
At the end of their 3 week borrowing period the eBook/eAudiobook files expire and can no longer be accessed from your device – so they are never overdue. The items are returned automatically to the eLibrary for other members to borrow.
Please note that even though you can no longer open the eBook once it has expired, the eBook file itself may still be stored on your computer or eReader device. You may want to check the instructions for your particular device to find out how to delete files in order to open up storage space for other titles.
Can I renew items from the eLibrary?
Yes. Go to the following Help Page for instructions - Renew Digital Items
What does this login message mean? 'The specified account information is not valid. User not found.'
You will need to contact your local public library and check the status of your library account. Your library card may have expired which will prevent you from accessing the eLibrary.
Can I get help setting up my Tablet to access the eBooks and eAudiobooks from the eLibrary?
Yes. Check out our eLearning One-To-One sessions available through our Events Calendar. You are able to book a staff member for 45 minutes to help you set up your eReader or Tablet.
I have lost my library card. Will this affect my access to the eLibrary?
Yes. Please contact us if you have needed to replace your library card and you are an eLibrary user. We can then transfer your checkouts and holds to your new account.
Why do I need to place a hold for an item? Don't you have unlimited access for these eBook files?
Most publishers require that library eBooks are offered to only one person per copy at a time, similar to how physical books are checked out. They feel that this restriction helps maintain their profitability, as unlimited eBooks available for free from the library would hurt sales of their eBooks through commercial sites.
Can I download eBooks at my local branch using the library PCs?
Unfortunately you cannot download eBooks using the public computers in our library branches due to software security restrictions. However, if you are able to bring your own laptop, tablet, or smartphone to the library, you are able to use our free Wi-Fi to download eBooks onto your own device.