Tag Archives: ebooks

I Love the Smell of Rich Mahogany in the Morning! or Why eBooks are Okay Too.

Books! Good old fashioned physical books! Nothing beats them and it hurts to be beat by them. If you’re like me and I know a lot of you are, then you love books too. Books are made of trees. Wood is made of trees. Mahogany is a type of wood. Therefore, books, or at least the best books, smell of rich mahogany. Some people may try to tell you that you can’t smell what type of wood a book is made of. Those people are not discerning readers.

Now, you may have heard of these so-called ‘eBooks.’ These eBooks are not made of wood. They are made of wires. I know what you’re thinking; I was the same way—skeptical. After all, when you’re sitting next to the fireplace, in your leather arm chair, a snifter of cognac in one hand and a bubble pipe in your mouth, and you look down in your lap and see A PILE OF WIRES, you’ll know something is missing. The smell of rich mahogany.

 

carrieBut say you want to read a good horror novel. I recommend Carrie by Stephen King, mostly because it rhymes with scary, which it is. You don’t want to read this book next to a fireplace. You want to read this book in a house with creaky floors and tree branches tap-tap-tapping at the window. You’ll also want to be in bed so that when things are at their absolute most terrifying you can pull the blankets over your head. Now think about it, with the blankets over your head and a regular old physical book you’re missing something. Light! And without light you’re approaching heart attack levels of scary, compounded by the fact that you can’t read in the dark. It turns out most eBooks have a nifty feature called a backlight which provides just enough light to read under the covers but not enough to ruin the ambiance.

 

count-of-monte-cristoeBooks, I’ve discovered, are also fantastic if you lift weights. Now leg days will never be an issue. But if you’re like me, and I feel a lot of you are, on those days when you’ve finished a set of arm curls with 500lb.* dumbbells picking up a book can be jello-arm inducing. Especially when you’re reading a tome such as The Count of Monte Cristo which is over 1000 pages of dead wood. Now with an eBook you can bend the laws of physics and that 1000 page tome is going to weigh about as much as a paperback.

 

infinite-jest

As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I’m smart. Smart enough to know that it’s spelled ‘smrt’ but when you write it out the ‘a’ is silent. That being said, I’m a humble man. So, when it’s time for my weekly read of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest I use a dictionary because that guy is mad smart and I need it. Every. Single. Page. Before eBooks it used to be a physical dictionary and that was kinda bad because the dictionary is like 1000 pages and Infinite Jest is like 1000 pages because it uses pretty much every word in the dictionary—so yeah, arm days. So I know what you’re thinking, bending the laws of physics. And yes, there’s that. But they’ve also managed a feat of alchemy and put a dictionary into every single eBook so that all you have to do is tap the word and BOOM the definition comes up on the screen!

 

masteredLastly, and this one is important because it involves safety, sometimes I like my books hot. This is a problem because as we’ve discussed books are made of wood. And I’m smrt so hot and wood make fire. So when I’m reading Maya Banks’ Mastered on the bus and it bursts into flames on my lap I can get some weird looks. eBooks don’t catch on fire so much so people on the bus just can’t tell how hot my book is getting.

 

So, yeah, I don’t often stray from that rustic mahogany smell (pine is nice too!) but when I do, I always choose eBooks. Let me know why you choose eBooks in the comments below.

~ Alan

*Editor’s note: We had a lengthy discussion about whether or not there was one too many zeros in this number. The discussion ended with the author effortlessly carrying a set of said dumbbells into my office. I’m currently in the process of fixing the hole in my floor.

“Secret” Things the Library Can Do for You: Part 2, Totally Online Stuff

HERE IT IS. The long-awaited second installment of things you never knew about the library. Today we’ll be talking about some of the techy secrets – the things the library offers 24/7 through our website.

Woman with laptop looking shocked.

I know. I’m excited, too.

 

A lot of times when I have to tell someone there’s a waiting list for a book they want they seem so disheartened. “But don’t give up!” I say, “there are audiobook versions! And eBook versions! And eAudiobook versions!” Often they end up with the book they want, just not how they expected.

(I know it can be daunting to get set up with a new format, but remember, you can always ask us for help.)

So here’s a super quick run down of the online and downloadable info and entertainment you can get through us, in case it helps you find something fun, interesting, or informative. It can all be found through our website as shown below, or through our eMedia Guide.

screenshot

I drew the red arrows myself.

 

Warning: A lot of these services have nonsense names, so it’s easy to get confused. But you’ll get used to it!

 

More than 5000 eAudiobooks!

I’ve just recently become reacquainted with the joy of being read to. It’s a fabulous way to squeeze more reading into your life, since you can do it bussing or driving, or while doing housework, cooking, or gardening. We offer two ways to find thousands of electronic audiobooks – through OverDrive and Hoopla (more about both below).

 

TV and movies! And music!

hooplaHoopla also offers free streaming of movies, TV shows, and popular music. No holds, wait lists or fines. Hoopla! A different music service, called Naxos Music Library has tons of classical, folk, world and jazz music.

 

Magazines!

zinDownload full-colour, complete issues of magazines, like US Weekly, National Geographic, Mental Floss, Newsweek, Cosmo and more straight to your tablet with Zinio for Libraries. And then they’re yours to keep forever!

 

eBooks, so many ways!

We are a library, after all, and books are a big part of what we do. Some of our eBooks can be read right in your web browser (no apps to download or set up). This is offered through: Overdrive,  McGraw Hill, Tumble Books, and Bookflix.

McGraw Hill eBooks offers eBooks in lots of subjects like business, computing, nursing, languages and sciences chemistry, mathematics, psychology, accounting and computing.

tumblebooklogoTumble Book Cloud and Tumble Book Cloud Junior have eBooks, read-alongs, classic works of literature and audiobooks for EAL audiences, high-schoolers, and elementary school kids. Read-alongs are especially great for those still struggling with reading, or for EAL students. There are never any waiting lists for these.

Tumble Book Library is also great for kids as they are animated, talking children’s picture books adapted from print books, but made interactive with quizzes, puzzles and memory games.

BookFLIX does something pretty unique, in that it pairs classic storybooks with related non-fiction books, so kids can learn new things in the context of their favourite stories.

frodWe also subscribe to two downloadable eBook services – Overdrive and Freading – so that you can download books to your mobile device (smart phone, tablet, or eReader) and take them wherever you go. Overdrive is great for popular, newer titles. Using it is very similar to print books, though, in that the library pays per copy of each book, so you might find yourself on the waiting list for something in demand. Freading is great for when you want to find an ebook right away as they offer unlimited use of the books we purchase from them.

Did you already know any of these secrets??

 

Happy reading (and watching, and listening)!

– Erica

New Features in the WPL to Go App

wpltogoapp

We’ve got some new features in our WPL to Go app that we’re sure you’re going to enjoy. If you’ve got the app already installed, the features are live already (no need to install an update, just open your app and explore!)

wpltogoappmainNew Look

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that we’ve updated our app icons… our old icon set was looking a bit dated, so we’ve gone in and done a bit of a makeover. The new look is cleaner and sleeker – we hope you like it! If something’s not where you expect it to be in the app, note that all of the services that you’ve been using the app for – searching for books, checking your library account, contacting the library – are still there; we’ve just rearranged things a bit to make room for some new content.

Leave your card at home

The most anticipated new feature is the app’s ability to store your library card number and display your barcode for scanning at the checkout desk.   That’s right, you can now leave your library card at home (or lost in the back of your wallet, whatever) and just scan your app instead!

To show your barcode at checkout, you need to first save your library card in the app. If you use the app to place holds on items all the time, you’ve probably done this already – just check the “Remember login” box on the My Account sign in page.

wpltogoapplogin   wpltogoappshow   wpltogoappcard

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll now see a line that says “Library Card (#####): show card for scanning.” Tap this and a version of your library card will appear on the screen. You can show this to the staff member at your local library’s checkout desk to access your account, or use it on any of our self-checkout machines (note that you may have to turn your screen brightness up to 100% to get the scan to work).

cool new content

wpltogoappcontentWe’ve also added more library content on the front page of the app, so you can launch all of your favourite WPL services with a tap of your finger. We’ve always included a quick link to our available OverDrive eBooks and eAudiobooks (and that’s still there) but now we’ve also added quick links to our hoopla digital (movies, music and audiobooks) and Zinio eMagazines services, too.

We’ve also added a quick link down at the bottom of the app that takes you to our full library website, for those occasions when you find you need to access a library service that isn’t included in the app (after all, it’s an app, it can’t do everything).

what’s happening at the library this week?

wpltogoappcalInterested in checking out a program at the library? Want to know if there’s any interesting programs at your local branch this week? Or looking for computer classes to help brush up on a skill? Tap on Programs and Events to open the complete list of upcoming library events – and then search the Calendar list for something you’re interested in.

Enter your local branch name in the search box to find events near you, or search for a descriptive word like “story,” “ipad,” “HELP” (yes, we have programs that match that term!)

Try it out!

If you haven’t already downloaded the WPL to Go app, you can do so right now just by going to https://winnipeg.boopsie.bredir.com/ (the page will redirect you to your device’s app store so you can install it right away – it’s free!).

You can also try it live before installing the app by going to http://winnipeg.boopsie.bredir.com/m on your device. You can try this on your computer, too – just go to the page and then shrink your page window down to phone size.

We hope you enjoy it!

-Sophie

Library apps on your Tablet – more than just eBooks!

You’ve got devices, we’ve got apps!

ipad_hero_20100305-300x191

This fall, the Library is offering a new series of tech workshops designed to expand the range of “things we show you how to do” on your devices. We’ve focused on eBooks (and to some extent, eAudiobooks) in the past, but we’ve never covered the whole RANGE of options. This is partially because some of our services are newer than others – our eMagazines service has only been on offer since January, and our streaming movies and music service only since April.

The other major reason that the range has been limited is that to explain all the services on all of the various tablets that people bring in takes a lot of time and can be confusing (brain/information overload!). To deal with this, for our fall series we’re splitting the sessions by device type – iPads in one class, Android tablets in another – so that no one is presented with information that doesn’t apply to their device and everyone can follow along, step-by-step.

The drawback to this arrangement is that to cover the range of tablets available, we need to have more sessions, and our resources are limited. To start off, we’ll be offering sessions for iPad and Android only, but Windows 8 devices will be offered as an option in the near future. If you’re interested in having the Windows 8 session at a branch near you, please contact the branch directly and let them know!

A listing of when & where these sessions will take place can be found in the September/October issue of @ the Library (coming to a branch near you next week). Subscribe to our email newsletter to get it delivered the first day it’s available!

Because some people prefer the “Do-It-Yourself” method, here’s a rundown of the library services you can get on your device with links to our “visual guides” for setup and installation:

OverDrive Media Console App: for eBooks and eAudiobooks

Search your app store for the keyword: Overdrive

OverDrive is our most popular eBooks platform! To download books from OverDrive, you need to install the OverDrive Media Console app, even if you already have an app like iBooks or Kobo for your purchased eBooks. Library eBooks have “time-lock” software attached to them that controls the lending/returning of the books (the “library” part of the deal!), and you need an app that knows how to handle the library code. Luckily the OMC app is free and easy to use – just follow the steps in our visual guides:

OverDriveiPad

Guide to OverDrive for your iPad

OverDriveAndroid

Guide to OverDrive for your Android Tablet

OverDriveWin8

Guide to OverDrive  for Windows 8 tablets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoopla app: For streaming and downloading Movies, Music and Audiobooks

Search your app store for the keyword: Hoopla

Hoopla is the newest download service offered by WPL, but it’s quickly becoming one of our favourites! Hoopla allows you to stream movies, TV, music and audiobooks on any computer, and if you’ve got an iPad or Android tablet, you can download your items and save them for offline use (like road trips, plane rides or days at the cottage!). You can check out 10 items per month, per card.

hooplaiPad

Guide to Hoopla for iPad

hooplaandroid

Guide to Hoopla for Android

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zinio app: for downloading and reading eMagazines

Search your app store for the keyword: Zinio

Zinio eMagazines are great because they never expire! Once you’ve checked out an issue, you keep it for as long as you like. The only complication is that the account setup process can seem a bit confusing. If you read through our Zinio Account Setup Guide, though, you should be able to figure it out pretty quickly. Once you’ve got your accounts ready, download the Zinio app and start checking magazines out! Note that even though the eMagazines don’t need to be “returned” to the library like our eBooks do, you still need to use this specific library app to download the files. The eMagazines are in a proprietary file format that can only be opened in the Zinio app, so other apps like Newsstand can’t open them.

zinioiPad
Guide to the Zinio App for iPad
ZinioAndroid

Guide to the Zinio App for Android

ZinioWin8

Guide to the Zinio app for Windows 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

WPL to GO: the Library’s OWN App!

Search your app store for the keyword: Winnipeg

Last but not least, we have our own app – one that gives you quick access to the library catalogue, shows you holds you have available and when your items are due, all in a touch-friendly environment. For more details and links, head to our demo page where you can try the app live before you download it!

Enjoy!

-Sophie

Suspended Holds and Auto-Checkout now available for OverDrive

We’re happy to announce that some long-anticipated features are now available in our OverDrive eBooks/eAudiobooks catalogue:     

Suspend a Hold

suspended3This feature allows you to temporarily suspend a hold on an item in the waiting list. Just like when you suspend holds in our “physical items” search catalogue, your position will continue to advance in the queue while the hold is suspended, but the hold will not be filled. This can be useful for a number of reasons, like stopping new book deliveries while you’re at the cabin for a week or away from your email, or if you’ve got ten books to read and can’t check out anymore until you’re finished with them.

suspended2
suspended1

You can choose to suspend your title for 7, 14, 21, 28, 60 or 90 days. Once the suspension ends, the title will go back to advancing in the list until the hold becomes available. If you advance to the first position in the waiting list while the hold is suspended, the system will skip ahead to fill the next available hold – but you’ll stay there waiting at position #1 until your suspension ends. If you’d like more details, here’s a link to OverDrive’s instructions on their Help site.

Auto-Checkout for Holds

At the time that you place a hold, the option to ‘auto-checkout’ the title when it becomes available can be set.

auto2

autocheckoutsIf you choose this option, you will receive a notification email when your title is available, but the email is just to confirm that it has been checked out and can now be found on your account bookshelf. Basically, when the previous user’s loan period expires, the book automatically adds itself to your account. You’ll still need to log in and download the item to your computer or tablet from the bookshelf page, but you won’t have to worry about the hold expiring after 96 hours if you miss the email!

If you select this option but are unable to borrow the title at the time it becomes available (for instance if you’ve already reached your maximum checkout limit) you’ll be sent the same hold notification email you’ve seen in the past and will have the full 4 day/96 hour hold pickup period to make your checkout. If you leave the auto-checkout option unchecked, you’ll also get the old 4 day/96 hour notification email.

Here’s an article in OverDrive’s Help that explains this in more detail.

“Recommended for you” collection

recommended for you

After you sign in, a collection of recommended titles will appear on the homepage. Recommended titles will be available for checkout and suggested based on titles you currently have checked out or on hold. If you do not have any checkouts or holds, this collection will not appear.

Maturity Settings

Two options have been added to the Account Settings page that will allow you to customize your browsing and discovery experience based on content maturity level:

1. The ability to exclude certain content based on the maturity level (Juvenile, YA, General, Adult). This will allow adult users to exclude titles for younger readers and young readers to exclude adult-only titles from their experience.

maturity levels
More information how to use this setting is available in this Help article: http://help.overdrive.com/customer/portal/articles/1492447.

2. The option to “mask” all adult cover images with a basic cover image. This option will be set to “No” by default.

cover images

Search Relevance Improvements

Based on feedback from users, the default word used between your search terms in the OverDrive search box has been changed from “OR” to “AND.” What does this mean? Basically, previous searches for ‘Stephen King’ would return all records that contain either the word ‘Stephen’ or the word ‘King.’ That means in addition to books by Stephen King, your search result list would show books by Stephen R. Covey, Laurie R. King, etc. With the new search style, your search will only return records that contain both the words Stephen and King. The new search style means the number of results returned for a search will likely be lower than with the old search behavior, but the relevancy of the results will be higher.

If you have questions about these new services, drop us a line in the comments!

 -Sophie

Tech Tips & News for April

Phew, it’s been a busy few months around here! First we launched our RBDigital/Zinio eMagazines collection, and now we’re launching two new library services – a new library catalogue interface and a new streaming/download service for movies, music and audiobooks.  On top of that, we’re keeping tabs on new updates to existing services like OverDrive to make sure that you have the best patron experience possible. Here’s a run-down of all the recent developments in the “online” part of Winnipeg Public Library’s services:

A New Search Interface

We’ve been quite busy putting the finishing touches on our new library catalogue. If you haven’t explored it yet, there’s never been a better time, because starting today (April 22, 2014) all of our website links are set to direct you to the new site instead of the old one. If you’re curious about the new site and would like a guided tour, we’ve got that covered! Our quick visual catalogue tour covers all the basics of the new search interface. For those among us who like digging into the “how does it work” details, there’s also an extensive help document that covers all the functions and options of the catalogue/account system. As with any new product roll-out, there are bound to be kinks found and adaptations to be made after the launch. At WPL, we’re proud of our customer-driven focus and as such, welcome any feedback that you might have on the new search interface. If there’s a function that you think is missing, or would like to see added, let us know; if it’s not something that can be added at this time, we’ll try to add it in future upgrades!

What’s all the Hoopla? New Video and Music Streaming Service

banner-no-textOn April 14, Winnipeg Public Library joined forces with hoopla, an innovative new service that partners with local public libraries to bring you thousands of movies, television, music, and audiobook titles for free. All you need is your library card; enter your barcode and PIN (last four digits of your phone number) and you’ll be able to register for a hoopla digital account.

Your hoopla account allows you to borrow 10 digital items per month, and the choices range from movies and TV episodes to music (all genres, including popular chart-toppers) and audiobooks. You borrow the items for a period of time, and during that time you get to listen to them or watch them on your computer any time you want, as much as you want. If you’re planning on watching your movies/TV on a computer, you’ll need to install the Widevine plugin in your browser, as the service uses it to stream the content. You can also install the hoopla app on your mobile device and save your content for offline viewing/listening, so you can take your content with you wherever you go during your lending period. That means you can check out a movie, save it on your iPad and watch it on the plane or on your road trip!

For more details, check out our FAQ page.

Changes to the OverDrive Media Console App

OverDrive Account Screenshot

OverDrive Account splash screen on Android

In mid-April, OverDrive released the latest update to their OverDrive Media Console App for iPad/iPhone and Android. The new version includes a stronger integration of the “OverDrive Account” feature, something that hasn’t been pushed heavily by the app before. Regular users of the app might be surprised to be asked to “sign in” the first time they open the app after installing the update, and that’s because the “sign-in” process is not connected to any library account you’ve created before. An “OverDrive Account” is separate from your Library account (you sign up using an email address and new password) and is designed to allow users to sync their reading progress across several devices. The sign-up has actually been available for over a year now, but has remained hidden as a option in the Settings menu that most people chose to ignore, unless they were specifically looking for ways to read titles on more than one device.

OverDrive Account Screenshot

OverDrive Account splash screen on an iPhone

Now, the app has been modified to put the account sign up on the splash screen, making it look like a required step. It’s not; you can skip it and never be asked to sign up again, just by tapping the “Do this later” option that appears under the Sign in /Sign Up buttons on the splash screen. If you do want to sign up for the OverDrive Account, though, tap the Sign up button and you’ll be taken to a page where you can enter your email address and a new password, which will be stored on the OverDrive cloud server and will allow your reading progress to be updated on all the devices that you use to read your books. That means that if you have an iPad and an iPhone both running OverDrive, you can start reading on the larger screen at breakfast, then leave for work and pick up where you left off reading while you’re riding the bus. Signing in to your OverDrive Account on a new device will also take care of the “Adobe ID” authorization on the new device, as that info is stored in your cloud account. If there are questions or issues, please send them to us as we’re always happy to offer help/troubleshooting tips. Happy eReading! – Sophie

The Fringe: a little bit of something for everyone

It’s summer again, and that means it’s time for all those amazing festivals that we try to jam into the 3 months before the Winnipeg weather turns cold again.

FringeFrom July 17-28, the festival of choice is the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, a sure delight for the whole family because it offers something for all tastes and personalities. If your preference is for air conditioning and dark, spotlit stage productions, then head inside to watch talented Winnipeg actors and actresses or fascinating international artists perform live. If your preference is more towards siting outside with a cold beverage and watching one of the many free acts from juggling to magic, the Winnipeg fringe festival has you covered there as well. You can take in all kinds of original acts for a very reasonable price, regardless of whether you prefer watching improv, drama, dancing or stand-up comedy. 

Some of the shows in this year’s fringe festival will deliver a real eye-opening experience (I’m hoping my own play, the one-man comedy show Aspergers: a tale of a social misfit (venue 3) which looks at this unique minority group and all the social challenges that they face, will fall into this category). 

As any fringe company working on a tight budget will tell you, one way to find a great play to put on is to check it out first for free at the public library. To get you in the mood and get your blood flowing as you get ready to take in as many shows as possible, check out some of the original plays and/or sources of inspiration used by Fringe groups this year:

  • Published Playwrights.  It can be difficult to make a living as a playwright in Canada, but some do manage! If you peruse the 819-region of our library’s “non-fiction” shelves (also known as the Canadian Drama range of the Dewey system), you’ll find plays like 7 stories7 Stories by Morris Panych (venue 12) and the works of George F. Walker (Adult Entertainment, venue 3) and Daniel MacIvor (Here Lies Henry, venue 15) (caveat:  we don’t seem to have either of those two titles, but we do have numerous other listings by those same playwrights – be sure to check them out if you’re looking for inspiration for 2014!). Nearby in the 812: American Drama section you’ll also find Thom Pain (based on nothing) by Will Eno (venue 11).
  • Free Classics. Before checking out the revised works of plays by great playwrights such as Shakespeare and Chekhov, why not read the original? Two Fringe companies are doing versions of Shakespeare this year (As You Like It (venue 19) & Hamlet (venue 25))…we of course have dozens of versions of Shakespeare’s works in our collections – original plays, movie adaptations, graphic novel adaptations, sound recordings of dramatizations, etc., etc… One thing that may not be commonly known is that anyone can own a free copy of Shakespeare’s plays, simply by downloading a copy from Project Gutenberg. Because of their age, all of Shakespeare’s works are in the public domain, which means they’re owned “by everyone.” You can find copies of As You Like It and Hamlet by searching our Public Domain collection in eLibraries Manitoba (once downloaded, the files are yours to keep forever!).
    Anton Chekhov’s works  (adapted for Quickies With Chekhov, venue 21) are also available for free download from Public Domain collections. My recommendation is The Seagull: this play dramatizes the romantic and artistic conflicts between four characters; the famous middlebrow story writer Boris Trigorin, the ingenue Nina, the fading actress Irina Arkadina, and her son the symbolist playwright Konstantin Tréplev.
  • Bizzarre histories. 0312144865Ed Cuddy, fringe actor slash admin coordinator of support services here at WPL, shared the inspiration for Macabre Tales of Horror and Macabreness 3D (venue 6): the censorship saga of the old EC Comics, which were popular in the 1940s and 50s until the implementation of the Comics Code Authority made it illegal to publish comics books with the words “”horror” or “terror” or “weird” on covers. The stories lived on in the pages of Mad Magazine, but the original Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, Two-Fisted Tales and Weird Science fell, well, back into the crypt. If you love Macabre Tales and are looking to read on in the same style, try Tales From the Crypt: the Official Archives or Tales of Terror!: the EC Companion, or one of the new Tales from the Crypt comics found in our children’s/youth graphic novels areas.

And if you need a break from fringing, remember that the Millennium library is nearby with access to computers (and air conditioning!) so that you can plan out a strategy for making all those fringe festival shows you don’t want to miss out on (and of course, once you’ve made up your strategy, print out your new jam-packed schedules on our handy printers!). This is definitely going to be a great summer and a great festival, I hope you are looking forward to it as much as I am!

Adam

OverDrive for Windows 8, eBooks Video Tutorials and eBooks for Little Ones

If you are planning to buy a new computer soon, chances are it is going to come with Windows 8. Windows 8 is Microsoft’s newest version of their operating system for desktop, laptop, and tablet computers. In some ways it’s a significant departure from the Windows of the past, mainly in the touch-centric Modern User Interface (formerly codenamed Metro). Apps (basically, software) that are designed for this new user interface are made available through the Windows Store.

OverDrive Media Console for Windows 8So why am I writing about the latest operating systems on a library blog?  Well, available in the Windows Store is the new Overdrive Media Console for Windows 8.

Overdrive Media Console (just Overdrive from now on) is the main interface to the Winnipeg Public Library’s downloadable eBooks on mobile devices like phones and tablets. Like Windows 8 itself, Overdrive for Windows 8 is a departure from the interface we’re familiar with for the Apple iOS and Google Android versions of the app.

windows8Because it’s such a departure, we’ve created a new Windows 8 version of our instructions for using Overdrive with the Winnipeg Public Library. Readers can find it (as well as our step-by-step guides for iOSAndroid and Blackberry) on the Downloadable eBooks page of our eBooks and Audiobooks guide.

OverDrive for Android

OverDrive for Android

OverDrive for Blackberry

OverDrive for Blackberry

OverDrive for iPad

OverDrive App for iPad

As I wrote above, Overdrive is the main interface for our eBooks on phones, tablets, and now computers; but how do readers with dedicated eReaders like the Kobo or Sony products borrow our eBooks? Sony PRS-T1 and PRS-T2 eReaders come pre-loaded with an Overdrive alternative, found on the second page of the home screen and labeled “Public Library.”  We have instructions for the Sony eReaders, as well. Other eReaders need to use intermediary software called Adobe Digital Editions.

We just published a series of short video tutorials describing the process for these eReaders. The third video in the series will be of use for those using Overdrive as well.

If you’re looking for help with a specific step, here’s the playlist broken down:

Winnipeg Public Library Offers Thousands of Free eBooks:
A general introduction to eBooks
Installing Adobe Digital Editions to Transfer Free eBooks to Your eReader: 
How to install ADE on your computer so that you can transfer them to your eReader device.
Create an Adobe ID:
How to create an Adobe ID so that you can copy eBook files from one of your devices to another
Authorizing Adobe Digital Editions to Read Free eBooks from WPL: how to input your Adobe ID so that eBooks can be downloaded and transferred
Find and Download Free eBooks at the Winnipeg Public Library:
Steps to search OverDrive and then checkout & download free eBooks from WPL
Download Free eBooks from WPL to Adobe Digital Editions:
How to get your eBook from OverDrive into your eBook software so that it can be transferred 
Transfer Free eBooks from WPL from Adobe Digital Editions to your eReader:
How to move an eBook from your computer to your eReader device

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eBooks for Little Ones

As the father of two little girls in the age of Netflix and hand-me-down mobile devices, sometimes I find it challenging to pull my three-year-old away from Caillou, Madeline, and Kipper. Our TumbleBook Library has been helpful in this.

50below

TumbleBook Library features animated, read-along versions of many children’s books.  My daughter is particular fond of Robert Munsch’s performances of his books. She laughed a lot the first thirty times he read his 50 Below Zero.

Now that she’s worn the ones and zeroes on these eBooks down to their fractions, I’m planning to introduce her to the Disney Digital Books we have available on OverDrive. With her library card, she can check out 10 of these at a time and read them over and over on our computer or laptop.

For more information about these and other kinds of Online eBooks, take a look at our eBooks Guide – you may be surprised at the variety of titles you find there!

Mike

New in Online eBooks: Disney Digital Books

One of the most common questions at our Children’s service desks is, “do you have any Disney books available?” Unfortunately, far too often the answer is no, there aren’t any, because they’re very popular and get checked out as soon as they’ve been returned… either that or they’re in paperback form and have started to fall apart due to too many *enthusiastic* readings.

Well, now there’s an option for anyone who goes home empty-handed: Disney Digital Books! This newest addition to our OverDrive eBooks service lets you check out Disney Digital Books from home and read them right there on your computer. Because the Disney books are browser-based, they can be enjoyed on a Windows or Mac computer, with no software or book downloads required.

A Disney Digital Book in action.

A Disney Digital Book in action.

Each book offers interactive features to enhance the user experience such as a ‘magic pen’ that pronounces words with just one click, trivia questions, and the ability to look up word definitions. Users will recognize familiar Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Disney Princesses, Hanna Montana, and more.

One thing to keep in mind when checking out Disney Digital Books is that because they’re part of our OverDrive collection, you can only have 10 titles out at any given time, assuming you do not also have other OverDrive materials out on the same card. Remember, though, everyone in your family is eligible to get their own Winnipeg Public Library card – even the kids! And if you regularly check out downloadable eBooks from OverDrive for your eReader or mobile app, you’ll want to note that the Disney Digital Books can’t be returned early – if you check them out for 21 days, they’ll be on your account for 21 days. You can set your personal default lending period by going to Account and choosing “Settings” (you can set the default lending period here for ANY of your favorite OverDrive formats – and they can all be different!).

There are over 600 Disney Digital Books to choose from, so check some out today!

-Sophie

Handmade Holidays – An Early Start!

Every year, I try to get it together to make the gifts I’m giving for the holidays. Hostess gifts, Christmas gifts,  Secret Santa gifts… I always convince myself that I’ll have the time and energy this year to give meaningful gifts that are handmade with love and care. Honestly, the years I’m the most successful are the years when I make ornaments, or something similarly assembly line, but I couldn’t help scouring the (in this case, virtual) shelves for ideas of what to make. Nice and early, in mid-November, so I have a chance to make everything, right?

I decided Freading was the perfect place to look – this way, I could download the instructions straight to my phone, and have them with me at all times, for when the crafting urge strikes. No holds, no waiting! (And even better, I could renew them for free in the middle of December, when I panic for real and actually start making things.)

Mini Christmas Crochet

First up, we have these pretty adorable mini Christmas crochets. Despite the Christmas specific title, there are also wonderful winter holiday designs like snowmen and BABY PENGUINS to make!

Knits for Nerds

Now, I know *I* won’t have time (because it would involve learning to knit, as well), but the Hobbit feet slippers in this book are definitely a great gift idea this year!  And for the ultra-ambitious, why not make his-and-hers sweater vests from The Big Bang Theory. Plus, an eReader cover that doubles as a chessboard. Wow.

Show me a Story

For the little ones on my list, I love the idea of storytime blocks from this book. Visual blocks allow children to start to expand their own storytelling abilities, and are infinitely engaging to young ones – and all it takes is some Mod Podge, magazine or card images, and plain wooden blocks!

Sneakier Uses for Everyday Things

My dad loves gadgets, and is totally into the idea of recycling/ re-purposing  so I think a calculator turned into a metal detector would be a great stocking stuffer. I’ll even be generous and let him keep the change he finds in the couch.

The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook

I’m also definitely into the idea of doing a cookie swap this year – adding some variety to the plate is never a bad thing, and it is much easier to bake in bulk!

Trash-to-Treasure Papermaking

For kids or the cardmakers out there, this Papermaking book is beautiful – a card using these techniques is a gift in itself! I also love that it is recycling paper – the holidays can always use a little more Green, in my opinion.

Strong Waters

All of these sound great… but I think my gift this year for the adults on my list will be bottles of home-made mead. The Rhodomel (rose flavoured honey wine) recipe in this book sounds like the perfect thing for holiday cheer!

All of these books are available right now, for your computer, tablet or smartphone, from Freading. To find out more about how to use Freading, visit our Freading overview page.