Ahoy, Mateys!

Shiver me timbers!  Did you know that the Mango Languages database offers a course in Pirate?!  Learn lingo, dialect, and more!

Of course there are lessons for Italian, German, Thai, Polish, French and many other languages for all you landlubbers out there.

Mango Languages not only teaches you grammar, pronunciation, and conversational skills, but also provides interesting cultural notes!

 Also, don’t forget about Mango Languages’ Translator.  This convenient tool will translate your text from one language to another with ease. And, unlike those free ones on the web, this one you can trust.

 Remember, “to err is human, to arr is pirate!”

– Rob (Bethel Park)

Continue Reading Ahoy, Mateys!

Embedded links in ebooks

Did you know that there are hyperlinks in ebooks which can take you directly to content outside of the book? For instance I checked out the epub version of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Walt Disney World.” The print version of this book lists links a link to www.disneyworldmoms.com (a world-wide panel of moms who are able to answer your Walt Disney World questions). The ebook version of the book has a “hot” link which will directly connect you to this website. The panel “mom” who is an expert on your question will try to reply directly to your email question. There are also links to podcasts www.wdwradio.com and www.wdwtoday.com. These links can be useful for up-to-the-minute information which can update the book’s content.

Another example is Fodor’s California. This ebook contains detailed color maps and wonderful color photos which are not included in the print editions. The ebook also contains hyperlinks to local Chambers of Commerce and Convention bureaus. There are also links to local accommodations and  restaurants.

All you need is an ebook and a wifi connection to take advantage of these embedded links.

KS Northland

Continue Reading Embedded links in ebooks

Words on a Nook Tablet

Late last year I decided it was time to join the eReader/Tablet crowd.  I decided on a Tablet because I liked the idea of being able to check email, look up a quick fact on the Internet, or spend a few minutes playing a game.  Another key factor was being able to download library eBooks directly to the device.  After that, it was a question of which Tablet to get.

In the end, I chose the Nook Tablet.  The size made it more portable than an iPad.  The price point was also more attractive because I got a good deal which included some accessories and this became the deciding factor in getting a Nook Tablet over the Kindle Fire.  While I have enjoyed the Nook for many reasons, I was bitterly disappointed because currently, it isn’t possible to download library eBooks directly to the Nook Tablet.*  The Nook Tablet is an Android device sold by Barnes and Noble, a book store that has used library eBook compatibility as a selling point for their other devices.  Why wouldn’t their tablet allow direct downloads?!? 

The good news is that both OverDrive and Barnes and Noble have confirmed that an OverDrive app for the Nook Color and Nook Tablet is in the works.  In the meantime, library eBooks have to be side-loaded onto both devices.**  It’s still worth it for the benefit of reading lengthy tomes such as the titles in  George R R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series without having to manipulate a thick, heavy book.  I also like being able to adjust the text size and background colors on the screen to make reading easier.

Stay tuned. Hopefully my next post will be a success story about downloading directly to my Nook Tablet. 

Charmaine (CLP)

*There are ways to “root” the Nook so that it allows apps that aren’t a part of the pre-selected market.  You can find out how by doing a search in your favorite search engine.  Doing this, however, voids the warranty.   

** Another option with the Nook Color is to purchase an SD card that turns the device into an Android tablet.  At this time these don’t seem to be available for the Nook Tablet.

Continue Reading Words on a Nook Tablet

So, why don’t we have ______ ? (Or, OverDrive eBook selection demystified.)

When it comes to eBooks, have you ever:

  • Been frustrated when trying to explain why there are missing titles in a series?
  • Experienced a brief moment of excitement to see the title you’re looking for, only to be disheartened when you realize it is only available in audio (e.g. Bossypants)?
  • Been befuddled about why we don’t have Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder or Tim Tebow’s Through My Eyes (and no, it’s not because he led the Broncos in squashing the playoff hopes of the Steelers)?

Wondering yourself why we don’t have those things, or how in the world the ACLA Downloadables Committee goes about making selections?  Well, read on, and hopefully things will become a lot clearer.

First, the ACLA Downloadables Committee currently focuses on selecting current and/or popular titles.  We purchase eBooks, eAudio, and eVideo, but we primarily select eBooks.  As a happy result of increased funding for e-materials this year, we have also been able to increase the number of copies of popular titles we purchase, as well as reduce the holds ratio on all e-content so that turn-over occurs more quickly and patrons have a higher satisfaction rate.

Sadly, there is a limit to what is available.  This, in short, is the reason we might not have:

  • All the titles in a series;
  • The eBook version of a book we have in audio;
  • Certain best-selling titles.

Let’s start with missing best-sellers (and, by extension, the reason we offer some titles as eAudio, but not eBook).  The e-publishing landscape is constantly shifting as publishers try to find a licensing/purchasing model that they feel comfortable with.  I could spend a whole blog post on the reasons for this, and maybe I’ll do that down the road, but for now I’ll just outline what we are able to get from the Big Six publishers:

  • Random House: Currently the only Big Six publisher offering libraries their complete catalog of eBooks without circulation restrictions.
  • HarperCollins: Offers their complete catalog of eBooks to libraries, but, as of March 2011, restricts each copy to 26 circulations (titles then have to be repurchased for continued access). The ACLA Downloadables Committee, along with many libraries across the country, decided to temporarily discontinue the purchase of HarperCollins eBooks when they announced the 26-circulation limit.
  • Penguin: Offered their complete eBook catalog to libraries until November 2011, then imposed an embargo on frontlist titles, with no indication of when new titles will become available.
  • Hachette:  Offers mid and backlist titles, but no frontlist.
  • Simon & Schuster: Does not sell eBooks to libraries.
  • Macmillan: Does not sell eBooks to libraries.

In terms of missing titles in a series, unfortunately, the publishers don’t necessarily have the digital rights to all of the books they have print rights to.  As a result, we are sometimes able to purchase some books in a series, but not all.

The good news?  We recently reinstated HarperCollins purchasing, so you will soon be seeing State of Wonder, Through My Eyes and other popular HarperCollins titles.  Further, publishers are constantly working on increasing their digital catalogs, so additional books in a series and books we have in audio but not eBook should become available over time.

I hope this helps to explain the rhyme and reason (or lack thereof) behind our eBook collection.  If you have questions, comments, or interest in this committee please feel free to post them below or contact me directly.

Sarah (CLP, Coordinator, eResources)

Continue Reading So, why don’t we have ______ ? (Or, OverDrive eBook selection demystified.)