Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Penguin titles and Kindle

Currently owned eBooks published by Penguin are once again available for download to Kindle through ECRL's eBook service. However, we understand that we will not be able to buy new Penguin titles, at least not now, anyway.

Yesterday I posted notice that the Penguin titles were not available for Kindle. That was changed sometime this morning. As I said in yesterday's post, the eBook landscape is constantly shifting in its implementation. We'll try to stay on top of it and keep you informed.

Further information about these developments are in these posts:
OverDrive blog
Publishers Weekly

Barbara Misselt, Director

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

eBooks - not everything is available

Warning . . . whatever I'm writing in this post may very well be outdated before I push the "publish" button . . .

eBooks have overtaken the information industry like a tsunami. Almost everyone knows someone who has an eReader, if they don't have one personally. While many die-hard print booklovers have decried eBooks as a passing fad, it appears that not only are they not going away, their presence in the information world is getting more prevalent. And it seems like the whole atmosphere surrounding eBooks is market-driven and planted not-so-firmly in the sand. Like anything else in this techy-obsessed world, desirability appears to be based on newer, shinier, and faster. Thus, the relationships and the rules are being written and changed as we go along.

Almost every library system in Minnesota provides eBooks as one of its choices for book formats and the company OverDrive is the primary provider for the subscription service. ECRL buys eBooks from OverDrive title by title, just as we would from a print book vendor. OverDrive provides the website on which readers search for and check out the eBooks.

When OverDrive first launched eBook service for libraries, owners of one eReader device could not take advantage of their library's service -- the Kindle. Kindle is a product of Amazon. By September of this year, OverDrive had brokered a deal and accomplished the logistics for library subscribers to check out and download eBooks to their Kindle device. So, by the time ECRL launched eBook service, eBooks were available for almost all eReader devices.

Meanwhile, there has been considerable jockeying within the industry about how individual publishers allow their publications to be used and made available. Macmillan and Simon and Schuster do not license ebooks to public libraries. Hachette Book Group withdrew its frontlist ebook titles from library circulation in July 2010, although reportedly they may be reconsidering their position. Harper Collins caps the number of checkouts for their licensed books to 26 per purchase. Then there are some books that simply are not available for libraries to check out as eBooks - like the Harry Potter series.

The news in recent days is from Penguin Group (USA) to not allow their books to be checked out and downloaded to the Kindle. Indeed, a check on ECRL's OverDrive site ( shows that Penguin books that ECRL currently owns are available for checkout only as Adobe EPUB or Adobe PDF (which will work fine for your Nook, or Sony Reader, or many other eReaders) but not Kindle. Furthermore, Penguin is not licensing any of their new books for any format - so it appears that we will not be able to purchase any new Penguin published books.

ECRL regrets that some of our current books are not available to Kindle owners. It's not a decision made by ECRL, and we'll continue to advocate on behalf of all eBook readers and keep you, our public, informed through this blog.

More information is available in this article from Digital Shift.
Notice from OverDrive concerning non-availability of Penguin books for Kindle

Barbara Misselt, Director

Yes, we have eBooks

You asked, we listened! ECRL has added another format for your reading enjoyment -- eBooks. Refer to this document for guidelines and more information about the service:

Readers enjoy books in many ways and use a variety of formats:
  • Books for reading - for reading and enjoyment while in one place, like curling up in a chair:
    • Print - Some of them are even in Large Print - easier on the eyes than smaller type. Print books come in hard cover and paper back. Libraries usually buy hard-cover, because they last longer through multiple users.
    • eBooks - the newest format edition, books are downloaded to be read from an eReader device.
  • Books for listing - for reading and enjoyment while moving around, like walking or riding/driving:
    • Audio books on cassette - we used to buy books that were recorded on a cassette tape, for use in cassette players. We don't buy books on cassette any more, but have a few older ones that people still enjoy.
    • Audio books on CD - we buy books recorded on CDs, for use in CD players.
Another format that ECRL does not currently purchase is the downloadable audio book, which is downloaded to a personal listening device, like an MP3 player or an iPod. This format appears to be replacing the books on CD format and is available from some other library systems.

Barbara Misselt, Director

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans History Project

Today is Veterans Day. Thank you to all Veterans for your service!

The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. The United States Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000. The authorizing legislation (Public Law 106-380), sponsored by Representatives Ron Kind, Amo Houghton, and Steny Hoyer in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senators Max Cleland and Chuck Hagel in the U.S. Senate, received unanimous support and was signed into law by President William Jefferson Clinton on October 27, 2000. The address for the site is

Veterans can contribute to the project by personal narratives through audio and video-taped memoirs or written memoirs; correspondence via letters, postcards, v-mail and personal diaries; and visual materials in the form of photographs, drawings and scrapbooks. There is information on the site on how to contribute memoirs, etc.

The database is searchable by name of war or conflict, branch of service, and other variables by selecting Search the Veterans Collections from the main page. You can also browse the collection by a variety of ways by selecting the browse tab on the search page.

The collection provides interesting reading and is an excellent primary research  source.

Barbara Misselt, Director 
information in this post from the Veterans History Project site