Tag Archives: ebooks

Free ebooks, no waiting

Running out of print books to read? Don’t have the money to buy all the latest bestsellers? Never fear, there are thousands of free ebooks out there (in addition to what we offer on OverDrive/Libby and RBdigital)!

Most of them are works in the public domain—meaning they were first published so long ago that any existing copyright on them has expired and they’re freely available for anyone to reprint or upload in digital formats.

Project Gutenberg is a well-known site that features one of the largest collections of public domain ebooks—over 60,000 titles in multiple languages. You can read titles online in your browser, or download them in the standard EPUB and AZW (Kindle) formats. Try their popular downloads page to see what other people are reading!

Gutenberg ebooks are plain vanilla, basic style, and can feature the occasional transcription error. If you’d like something a bit more elegant, Standard Ebooks editions are nicely formatted with pretty art covers, just like professionally published ebooks, plus they offer Kobo-compatible downloads.

The Digital Public Library of America “connects people to the riches held within American libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions.” Their Open Bookshelf links to most of the same classics as the previous sites, but also includes a healthy variety of children’s books and textbooks.

Prefer listening? LibriVox offers free digital audiobooks! The quality can be variable, as the readers are all volunteers, but every title is free to listen to online, download to your device, or burn to CD.

So now that you have access to all these books, where to start?

If you’d like an immersive reading experience as an escape from current events: try Middlemarch. It may take a while to adapt to the slow pace of the novel, but it faithfully recreates the life of an entire English town and every character, from sympathetic to infuriating, seems absolutely real.

If you’re looking for an experience to share with your book club or family: why not read a classic together, and then screen one of the many film adaptations? The Age of Innocence, Little Women, The Call of the Wild, and Great Expectations are just a few of the possibilities.

If you’re in the mood for something light and entertaining:

  • Agatha Christie’s earliest mysteries are now in the public domain, including the first appearance of detective Hercule Poirot in The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
  • P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster novels are some of the funniest comedies ever written; start with Right Ho, Jeeves.

Happy reading!

Danielle

#WPLdeepdive

This is the first in a series of posts taking a #WPLdeepdive into the Library’s online research and e-learning resources. In this series we’ll share information about these collections and show you how you can access them.

My wife just got a new drug prescription. Where can I find some reliable information to learn more about it?

My daughter’s turning 18. Can I get a print out of the Winnipeg Free Press front page from the day she was born?

My teacher says I need to have at least two “scholarly sources” for my project? I thought only university libraries have that stuff.

I don’t think GMO foods are safe but I’m not sure of the science and all the background.

People contact the Library with questions like these because it can be tough (or nearly impossible!) to find the answer when they search online. We help people find the answers to these and other questions by diving in to some of the many subscription-based e-resources in our collection*.  And guess what? You have access to them too. All you need is a valid Winnipeg Public Library membership – aka a Library card.

(Don’t have a Library card? No problem. While Library branches are closed due to COVID-19 you can sign-up online for a temporary membership.  It will allow you to access all of our e-content.)

Got that Library card? Good. Let’s dive in.

These directions are for accessing content via a web browser. You can also use the Winnipeg Public Library app. When you are on the app go to Search Smart and then tap on Databases. Don’t have the app yet? Visit our website for the links to download it to your mobile device.

Here’s where you want to go:

Visit winnipeg.ca/library and click on “DATABASES”.

You’ll be taken to the A-Z Databases List.

You can explore what we have in three ways.

Alphabetically. Browse the A-Z list as if it were a shelf of books, or, if you already know the name of the resource you want, you can look for it under its letter.

Browse by subject or topic. You’ll see subjects from Archives and Historical Documents to Science and Technology. This is the way to go if you’ve never accessed any of the resources or if have and you’re looking to see what else we offer about a certain topic.

Search for a term. The system searches the list of subjects and the descriptions of each resource. Here we’ve searched for the word “biology”.

When you find a resource you want to access just click on its name. You’ll be taken to a login page to enter your Library card number (no spaces) and your 4-digit Library membership PIN. And then you’re in!

Good to know

This A-Z list is not only for research and e-learning resources. It also shares direct links to the Library’s ebook and audiobook, emagazine and newspapers, and streaming music and movie, TV and film collections. We call those collections “eMedia” and we recommend that you head over to our eMedia Guide before using any of those collections for the first time. The eMedia Guide has everything you need to know to get started using those collections.

Have a question? Ask Us!

Our buildings may be temporarily closed but staff are ready to answer your questions online. If you have questions about these resources or any other Winnipeg Public Library collection or service please Ask Us!  We look forward to serving you.

… Oh, and those four questions up top? Answers could be found, in order, in: RxTx, the Winnipeg Free Press Archive, Academic Search Premier and Canadian Points of View.

Our next post in this series will #WPLdeepdive into RxTx  – the Canadian standard for information about drugs, vaccines and natural health products, maintained by the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

Monique

* Access to these databases from home is licensed for personal use only; institutions may not access these databases.

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