TechieThing #2 – eBooks and eReaders!

March 26, 2012 § 87 Comments

An eBook is an electronic book, which may be read on a variety of electronic devices, from computers and laptops, to tablets, eReaders, and smartphomes. At the most basic, eBooks are digital files. How you read the digital file and transfer them to different devices depends on your hardware – the computer, the operating system of your computer, and the software you have installed.

eBooks have different file extensions depending on the format – for example, .pub (for an ePub format eBook), .pdf (a PDF format eBook), .wma (for a Windows Media Audio format audio book), or .mp3 (an MP3 format audio book). And just like for other types of digital files, you have to have the right software to read the format, and you need that software on the proper hardware device.

Not all devices support all format types. Here’s an infographic that outlines this issue:

eBook Advantages

A distinct advantage of eBooks is that any title can be turned into a large print title – you can change the text size easily. Some titles may even support text-to-speech capability, also. Other advantages:

  • most ereader devices include support for dictionaries, so you can look up a word right from your reading screen
  • eBooks are eco-friendly – printed books use 3 times more raw materials and 78 times more water to produce!
  • eBooks are easy to annotate and bookmark

eBooks are also evolving – look for increased interactivity and multimedia support for newer titles!

Also, a recent Harris Poll survey found that:

  • eBooks represent a big market. Annual revenues from eBooks delivered to portable devices to $9.7 billion by 2016, up from $3.2 billion this year.
  • eReader owners tend to read more. 32% of ereader users read from 11 to 20 books a year – twice as much as readers of traditional books.
  • 1 in 6 Americans own a eReader or will purchase one in the next six months.

This infographic represents the survey’s findings:

What is Digital Rights Management (DRM)?

The purpose of DRM technology is to control access to, track and limit uses of digital works. Because of DRM, you have to download separate pieces of software before accessing certain types of eBooks and use special DRM software on your computer and devices. Also, the library cannot legally buy eBooks directly from Amazon or Audible and then loan that copy. Libraries are currently legally required to purchase special library-licensed versions of these titles from intermediary companies that specialize in working with libraries. As a result, not all titles that are available to customers are available at the library because some publishers will not license their content for use by libraries.

SJPL eCollections

SJPL has both downloadable and online only e-collections, all protected by Digital Rights Management (except Freegal).

Downloadable eBooks, eMusic, and eAudiobooks

Must first be checked out and then downloaded before being displayed or played. Files check out for 1, 2, or 3 weeks – you choose when you first check out the item.  You can use downloadable content on a desktop or laptop computer, or transfer it to a portable device such as a smart phone or digital audio player.              

  • OverDrive: Our largest, most popular collection.  Fiction and non-fiction titles; music – classical, children’s music (eBooks, eAudiobooks, and music). Adobe Digital Editions required for eBooks, OverDrive Media Console required for eAudiobooks and music.
  • OneClickDigital: Fiction and non-fiction titles (eAudiobooks only). Requires user to create an account and download OneClickDigital Media Manager. An app for the iPad is coming soon! No waiting lists, all titles work on iPods.
  • EBSCO: Fiction (eBooks and eAudiobooks) and non-fiction titles (eBooks only). Requires Adobe Digital Editions to download eBooks, EBSCO Download Manager for eAudiobooks.  eBooks also available for online viewing (no download required).  Users are required to set up an EBSCO account to download.
  • Freegal: Popular Sony artists; MP3 downloads. No DRM! 7 tracks a week now until May!
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library: Children’s reference and travel titles. Download per chapter only.

Online eBooks and eAudiobooks

These titles display instantly using your web browser – like IE or Firefox. You don’t have to check out these items and you can’t transfer them to mobile devices.

Some notes:

  • Some of these collections are both online browsable and downloadable. Gale, EBSCO, Missions of California eBooks, Marshall Cavendish eBooks fall in this category.
  • You can find all of the titles in SJPL’s e-collections in the catalog, except Freegal, TumbleBooks and BookFlix titles.
  • SJPL’s Freegal subscription will end on May 1.
  • All fiction from before the year 1900 is in the public domain so you can find most classic titles for free online. You can also find many works that don’t have an active copyright holder – features a great list of these titles (

eBooks in Libraries – Diminishing Content

A recent disappointing development for eBooks in libraries has been the diminishing access to content from popular publishers. As you may recall, Harper Collins imposed a 26-checkout limit on its titles. Penguin Publishing no longer sells to the library market. The only remaining publisher of the Big Six, Random House, recently tripled the amount they charge the library market. Another issue is the user experience for library customers accessing eBooks – libraries would like integration with Millennium and other ILS software, of course.

Here’s a NYT article that discusses some content limitation issues:

Here’s an updated article about the same topic:

Here’s a recent article by Peter Brantley of the Internet Archive that discusses some of the difficulties libraries are facing:

Here’s ALA’s response to the situation:

 Three Part Assignment:

1. Post a common complaint a customer has brought up with you regarding eBooks and your resolution to the problem.

2.  What is your favorite online resource for keeping up with eBooks or learning more about them? Please share at least one.

3.  What do you think public libraries should do about diminishing eBook availability? For example, should we alert the public to write letters to publishers, as some librarians are encouraging ? Please share your thoughts about this critical issue.

By Mana Tominaga

§ 87 Responses to TechieThing #2 – eBooks and eReaders!

  • Sonia Chen (HB/AR) says:

    1. The most common complaint I’ve heard from customers is that eBooks are not always available. The only thing we can do is to put them on the waiting list and reflect the situation to our acquisition dept.
    2. ‘Learning Express’ is my favorite online resource. It is a good resource for students who like to improve their math, reading and writing. It is also an excellent resource for high school students preparing tests. For job seekers, it has some career tests to practice. It is a really useful online resource for our users.
    3. I think we should let the news media know of the diminishing eBook availablity. Using the media is the best way of bringing different issues to people’s attention.

  • Lucy Sun at King Library - KPRR says:

    1. One of the most common complaints I receive from customers is that they don’t understand the process of checking out eBooks. Usually, its just a matter of “walking” them through the steps. I explain that they must first download Overdrive Media Console and/or Adobe Digital Editions. Then, they can choose an item and “Proceed to checkout”. By this point they are less confused.

    2. I search for eBooks I want to read by doing a Title/Author search on our website. Sometimes I’ll look on Amazon’s site.

    3. I think publishers and libraries need to keep working on a fair payment/lending agreement. Since eBooks continue to increase in popularity among consumers and library users it will be well worth the effort.

  • Nick hernandez@pool says:

    Nick Hernandez – POOL Staff

    1. The only complaint that I received regarding ebooks is that they were not easily accessible. From our website, it is a bit of “hidden” process to get to the E-book download/check out is a bit confusing for our older generations.

    2. I really like the safari books online. There are tons of titles! The search results retrieve back great findings. The quality of the navigation is the best in my opinion and it really encourages using their system.

    3. It seems as if this e-book situation is getting to be really important. Apple themselves have started to bring this matter to the public. I think by -getting our users in the library more aware of the availabilty of E-books is the top concern. Why push the matter when there is a larger crowd to be behind you. The library system should really do some public events dealing with e-books. Teaming up with Microsoft/Apple could benefit both parties in terms of e-reader and e-book usage.

  • sarahkishler says:

    1. I agree with other commenters here that customers’ main issue with ebooks is how to get started downloading them to their devices. They can be directed to the FAQ on the library Web site or have a librarian walk them through the process (I did this over the phone the other day). It is also really helpful to be able to physically demonstrate the process to them with the use of a test device.

    It also often surprises people that there is a waitlist for an electronic book. They also might not realize that there are different e-book providers contracting with the library and there might be differences in usage and policies with each one. It is useful to be able to explain these specific differences to patrons.

    2. Online, I mostly learn about current e-books issues via ALA and the libraries and librarians I follow on my Twitter feed.

    3. Raising public awareness of the problem of diminishing e-book availability is probably the most effective step toward getting publishers to build better relationships with libraries. Publishers who want a good public image would obviously do well to pay attention to what the public wants. Writing letters directly to the publishers is one way to let them know, but both librarians and patrons can also write letters to the editors, run social media campaigns, etc., so that more of the public understands the issues.

  • Mike Sarhad — AB/EN - Week #2 says:

    1. A common but minor complaint after helping someone set themselves up to check out and download an ebook is the apparent lack of available copies. I usually respond by showing them how to limit their search to available titles.

    2. In addition to the great resources already mentioned, the blog “No Shelf Required” (http://www.libraries.wri seems to be a pretty good one for ebooks news and developments. For example, an April 6 post reported on the “Rise of E-Reading – Pew releases new data on eBooks… 21% of Americans have read an e-book. The increasing availability of e-content is prompting some to read more than in the past…” This blog is a fairly good current awareness tool and includes many developments for public libraries despite the blog’s .edu domain. It isn’t very well followed, though, if the number of comments is any indication. So you can find some bits of info that others may be unaware of.

    3. Diminishing library ebook availability may be the publishing industry’s reaction to growing survey data indicating that most people prefer to purchase their ebooks rather than borrow them from a library. Libraries should encourage their customers to write publishers about diminishing availability of ebook titles for libraries. If the letters are to have the most impact, they should include mention of any business benefits to the publishers of wide availability of library ebooks.

  • Anne Wang CB/WV says:

    Anne Wang -CB/WV

    1. One customer wanted to check out more eBooks but his account already reached the limit of 10. He was asking how to get rid of eBooks from his account. There was nothing I can help at that point. Then I suggested him to choose a shorter check out period when he checks out books next time.

    2. My favorite online resource is tumblebook library. I like the feature that patrons can search titles by reading levels. It is especially helpful when kids and parents come in library to looking for AR books.

    3. It’s about the business of demanding and needing. I think libraries need to negotiate and compromise with publishers and find out an agreeable price.

  • Chieu Nguyen says:

    1. Post a common complaint a customer has brought up with you regarding eBooks and your resolution to the problem.
    Your ebooks are always checked out. I pointed out to them to click on “Available” when searching for an ebook.

    2. What is your favorite online resource for keeping up with eBooks or learning more about them? Please share at least one.
    Kindle books are wonderful. Not too long ago customers would have to pay Amazon for these books.

    3. What do you think public libraries should do about diminishing eBook availability? For example, should we alert the public to write letters to publishers, as some librarians are encouraging ? Please share your thoughts about this critical issue.

    I think customers should definitely give their inputs to publisher to make more eBook titles available.

  • Sarai RG says:

    1. Most common complaint a customer has borught to my attention regarding eBooks has been how to get started. I help each patron by showing them step by step on a staff compute, which always answers their questions. I also refer them to the Help/FAQs link.

    2. My favorite online resource has to be OverDrive Digital Library because I could download books right to my Kindle Fire. Plus they have a large collection of eBooks.

    3. I think we should have a few workshops for the patrons regarding eBooks. Show patrons how to use eBooks, test out eBook devices, and let the them know our problem with eBook publishers and maybe fill out a form that could be sent to eBook publishers.

  • Adrian Barrientos-Wk #2 - AL/JE says:

    Adrian-Wk 2 – AL/JE
    I guess that the common complaint that I probably come across would be the frustration of some customers who can’t get their Kindle have access to a Overdrive Book title which SJPL carries. I refer customers to the helpful links on the SJPL ebook page which contains information on how to get started and what electronic formats are supported by what electronic devices. I also remind customers about having their Amazon login and password available when to trying to access the Overdrive titles on a Kindle device.

    Now, I would say that I mostly keep up with ebooks and learning more about them from professional library resources such as Library Journal’s and American Libraries’ website with articles featuring such topics.

    Yes, I think that we should educate our customers about the issue of publishers and making e-books accessible and available. The public has the right to give publishers their feedback on this issue of having e-books accessible just we do with printed materials.

  • Jeff @ Willow Glen says:

    1. Too difficult to download

    2. Various news sources including AP, Reuters, PCWorld, Mashable, etc.

    3. There is not much that can be done except for lawsuits. … Stephen King correctly predicted a few years ago that publishers would raise ebook prices after they got people hooked on ebooks with their initial low prices. … I think this will eventually become a non-issue since ebooks will eventually be stripped of DMR by internet users and they be illegally shared on BitTorrents just like MP3 files.

  • Sharon Fung KL-Collection Development says:

    1. The most common complaint I received is just getting that first book dowloaded. And how to resolve it, I just learned how to do it for myself and was then able to teach others how to do it.
    2. To keep up with ebooks is really my job at work – but I often learn about ebooks and issues involving ebooks through others on facebook.
    3. About diminishing ebook availability, public libraries should definetly make their voices heard. How can we do this? Writing letters doesn’t sound like a bad idea, emails maybe, text messages, tweets? To whom should we direct our ideas? Publishers? Authors? We should collectively be able to make valid points about accessibilty without forgetting that publishers/authors have to make some money (just maybe not as much as they’d like).

  • Deborah Hennessee, RG says:

    1. A common complaint from customers is that so many of the titles they would like to check out are not available, since it is already checked out. I tell them, if they would like, they may add themselves to the wish list, which is one of the best ways to get it! I also suggest they could check at Ebsco or One Click Digital.
    2. I use the SJPL website! Basically, the Downloads page. I find it really helpful to show customers the link to Supported Devices.
    3. Libraries should continue to offer direct communication as well as correcting misconceptions to publishers. It seems as though letter writing could really help libraries gain more access.

  • Traci Truttman at AL/JE says:

    1. I have not had any complaints. The most common question I get is what works with a patrons device. For this, I direct them to the two charts on the downloads page that show file types for devices and for vendors. This is usually satisfactory.
    2. I don’t keep up with e-books, so I can’t share any resource here.
    3.I don’t think I’m equipped to answer this question, but one thought comes to mind, which is: if library patrons write letters to publishers but go ahead and purchase e-books anyway, their letters will go unheeded, and perhaps a purchasing boycott would make a letter writing campaign more effective. or maybe not–it’s hard to say. but it’s pretty clear that if publishers cared what library patrons think, they would not have made the choices that they have made.

  • Dawn Imada says:

    Three Part Assignment:

    1. Post a common complaint a customer has brought up with you regarding eBooks and your resolution to the problem.

    A customer said that she was unable to download neither ebooks nor eaudiobooks from Overdrive. I suggested that she visit and download and install both OverDrive Media Console and Adobe Digital Editions. Once she downloaded them both, I suggested that she “add” San Jose Library to her Overdrive account. After that, she was able to do the rest.

    2. What is your favorite online resource for keeping up with eBooks or learning more about them? Please share at least one.

    Academic Search complete (found on the page) is a good source for finding articles about ebooks, ebook usage and other topice.

    3. What do you think public libraries should do about diminishing eBook availability? For example, should we alert the public to write letters to publishers, as some librarians are encouraging ? Please share your thoughts about this critical issue.

    If customers want to write letters, that’s fine.

    If certain ebook titles have low prices, 26 checkouts is fine. If certain ebook titles have high prices, unlimited checkouts is better.

  • M Dines -WG/RG says:

    1. Downloading the item from SJPL’s eCollection. Refer to FAQ’s, demo on WG’s nook/Kindle Fire devices, or schedule appointment with Saturday Tech Help volunteer.

    2. &

    3. Stay current with, support symbiotic relationship that already exists between publichers/libraries, encourage use of eBooks & digital resources.

  • Sukhjit Sangha BB/EV Branch says:

    1. I have not got any complaints so far, but I do get some questions from patrons regarding ebooks that how many books they can check out, if they can renew it, or if they can return before it expires. I am pretty comfortable to provide them all kind of information by showing them how they can get this information by visiting SJPL website in the Download section and click the new user’s guide to ebooks, audiobooks and emusic, and how they can check FAQ to find their answers.

    2. I use library ebooks from overdrive to download to my kindle fire, and I don’t see any problems.

    3. Publice should raise the voice to the publishers and libraries should try to negoatiates with the publishers to have more availablity for ebooks.

  • Mary Chamberlin, Cambrian says:

    1. I haven’t had many complaints from customers. But today someone said that they were having a problem downloading ebooks from the library & were advised that their card was expired. She only had a couple of days before the ebooks were gone. Advised her to come right away to library to update her card.
    However, my friends have said that they have been having problems with Kindle books being available because they had suddenly become much more popular.

    2. I do not have an e-reader ( would LOVE to win one!), so my favorite resource is the SJPL website.

    3. I think that public libraries should make the public more aware of the diminishing eBook availability. I think just educating the public would go a long way to helping. Hopefully, they could write letters or make online comments to the publishers, & maybe even on popular authors’ websites.

  • Farah H. says:

    1. The most common complaint is the lack of availability of the most current and most popular titles in Overdrive of eBooks and audiobooks. It just seems like there should be more “copies” available, especially if they’re digital!

    2. As far as what’s new releases are out there, iTunes does it for me.

    3. Hopefully there is a way (and there is actual proof) that allowing libraries greater, free access to eBooks and audiobooks is actually good for a company’s overall business, and we can show it to these companies. I think getting the public involved is a good idea, too. People are passionate about their reading material, and may better articulate to these companies, more than we can, just how valuable and beneficial eBooks and audiobooks are to communities at large.

  • Helen Kahn says:

    Helen Kahn, JE/AL
    1) Which ebooks can I use on my device? Go to ebooks section of home page, look for “supported devices” on left side of page.
    2) Library’s website is an excellent source of information. I also get Overdrive’s Contentwire.
    3) As this issue affects more customers over time, we can direct them to the publishers in order to comment on it.

  • Pam Crider says:

    1. The most common complaint I get is that people are overwhelmed by their choices. They don’t know which format works with their reader and then they download one that’s not compatible and don’t know how to return it. I often refer them to the FAQs and helps on our website. I’ve also become more proficient in answering questions since I’ve acquired my own eReader.
    2. I don’t really have a favorite source. I use AL Direct and Library Hotline to keep up with Library news in general and am often interested enough to take a closer look at items related to digital access.
    3. I think our professional organizations should be leading the way in communicating our values to the publishers. Of course, we, in turn, need to be actively supporting these organizations.

  • Halleia Sadeghi says:

    1. The only complaint I have had from Patrons regarding ebooks, is more of a question: “How do I download an ebook to my device?”
    Since I do not have an ereader of my own, I refer them to the help page on the Library’s site. I think it would be easier if each branch had an ereader they can utilize for in branch purposes, and demonstrate in front of the Patron when dealing with this type of issue. Plus the restrictions on the Public terminals does not allow for Patrons to download ebooks right away. It would be nice if we had the necessary programs installed, and we could help Patrons download straight from the webpacs.

    2. I do not have an ereader yet, but when I do purchase one, I would probably visit Amazon for selection, plus the Library’s site.

    3. I can understand both sides to the issue of lending ebooks vs. sales. Maybe if libraries agreed to pay a much higher cost for an electronic copy than the regular public, publishers would be more willing to allow more of their titles to be available. However, if ereaders/ebooks is the new way of the future, less and less physical hard copies will be bought, and Patrons will then most likely become more vocal to have their favorite titles available electronically through their local library.

  • Ned Wappler - SA / TU says:

    1. Help with figuring out which formats can be read on what kind of devices; the tech support page at: has been a big help. Also the video guides for setting up kindles are really good;
    2.San Jose Public Library’s webpage, because of the extensive links.
    3. The budget issues of public libraries across the country forces Libraries into a decision of depleting their bound book budgets in favor of increasing their ebooks budget. If the major publishing houses, referenced in the article above, won’t sell or delay their material to libraries, then that will slow the growth of ebooks to libraries. Even Libraries’ Friends groups would find this difficult as the groups are usually concerned with programs and augmenting physical services. At least classic, travel and legal books are readily available for a reasonable cost.

  • Kim Nguyen says:

    1. I haven’t have many questions regarding ebooks at BLA/EB.

    2. I get information and training through SJPL.

    3. Public should be aware and be able to openly express their interest and concerns in ebooks with the publisher. SJPL and other library organizations can also advocate for the users.

    Kim Nguyen, BLA/EB

  • Ana Fabela AB/EN says:

    1. The use of eReaders is not that common at the Edenvale location. I see it more at the Almaden branch. When I do come across a question, it’s usually about the availability of the eBooks. Some find it hard to believe that there is actually a waiting list to download a copy.

    2. What I learn is from the information that I get through the library.

    3. I think it is a good idea for librarians to encourage the public to speak out to the publishers about their needs. I’m sure most of the public is not even aware of the issue.

  • joshua castro BlA EB says:

    1. one common complaint customers have told me is the constant unavailability of ereaders. along with that e reader not being compatible with any of the customer’s electronic devices.
    2. I currently don’t have any sources of keeping up with e readers sources.
    3. I feel we should let our concerned e reader customers know so they may take action towards the publishers
    Joshua Castro

  • Andy Paul, Web Team, Week 2 says:

    1. It’s not necessarily a complaint, but many customers ask why a particular eBook isn’t available, since it is digital (and digital stuff is always available, “like on iTunes, right?”). I politely explain a little about DRM to the customer and let them know they can use the Suggest a Purchase form to suggest that the library purchase additional digital copies of the title. I also let the customers know that the wait time for eBooks requests is generally shorter than it is for traditional materials. This is because that they can’t be returned late, and they are more likely to be returned before the due date, which may not even be the full three weeks associated with print.

    2. I regret to say that I am not an eBook reader. I plan on getting an eReader soon (hopefully I will win one here!), so I have been building up my collection of mostly free eBooks. I learn about interesting, discounted (and often free) eBooks on,, and sometimes on Having an prime account means getting lots of free titles, including cookbooks, old and classic novels, travel books, etc. I’ve amassed a pretty large collection, mostly cookbooks, that is ready to be uploaded to my eReader, once I get one.

    3. I think we should alert the public to this issue. Awareness is important and we are in the business of providing information. Diminishing eBook availability is not in the best interest of customers or the libraries that serve them and people should have the right to know what is going on. Free and open access to information is in the best interest of library users and people in general living in a democracy. While I doubt that libraries would boycott specific publishers, because of bureaucratic complexities that can’t be summed up in a short blog post, I think we, as customers, should in some way voice our dissent to the publishers that are limiting access to information (unless we agree with what they are doing). Customers have the option to not support certain publishers (although I acknowledge this can be difficult since there are only a handful of major ones that publish most of everything). I understand that publishers are trying to make money and authors need to get paid. I just think publishers can afford to take the small economic hit of a few hundred people (per library system) reading one of their books for free that may not otherwise be able to afford to. Non-paying readers might just end up becoming fans of that author or publisher and may purchase from them in the future. They may also promote the work(s) via word of mouth, and the more popular a title becomes, the more likely it is to be purchased by new customers, and possibly even made into a film, which can mean lots of money for the author and / or publisher. I like the idea of notifying the public to this issue by posting a list of publishers that are refusing to sell or license eBooks, like San Rafael Public Library did. If we could do such a thing, it would be great to have it posted on our downloads page so that our readers are informed and can take action, if they feel it is appropriate to do so.

  • Shu-Hua Liu (Technical Services-King Library) says:

    1. I often receive the questions asking how to download e-books from OverDrive.
    First of all, I will ask what kind of device the patron has.
    Then I will refer the patron to take a look at the New User’s Guide to eBooks, eAudiobooks & eMusic on SJPL e-book web page.
    The Quick Start Tutorials for OverDrive are quite helpful for Nook and Kindle users.
    In addition, I will let them know the Help menu of OverDrive
    The help menu provides comprehensive information which answers all questions.

    2. I found the Publisher Weekly is quite helpful for me to keep up with the changes of e-book publishing.
    In the online publisher weekly, there is a Digital section.
    Under the menu, there are six subdivisions including Devices , Copyright , Retailing , Conferences , Content / e-books and Apps. Each one contains the updated news regarding the latest development and innovation.

    3. ALA is the largest professional association; their initiatives usually bring the most significant impact and national attention.
    Therefore, I think participating in the eBook initiatives/campaign of American Library Association is the efficient way to voice our concerns.

  • Arturo Villaseñor East SJ Carnegie/Biblioteca says:

    1. Common complaints: various collections & means of access is confusing and difficult to keep track of policies. Another complaint is that we are spending too much on ebooks and forsaking print, thereby cutting out the populace that neither cares to have another electronic nipple device to suckle or otherwise don’t wish to adapt to electronic book use. I listen sympathetically to these complaints and attempt to show the current access procedures and point out the ebook FAQ!

    2. I really just grab information here and there about ebook trends, DRM, library adaptation, etc. in popular press sources (NPR, NY Times, LJ), but I don’t utilize an e-reader myself … I like traditional print.

    3. There’s a proposed idea out in the library world to not purchase ebooks from publishers and hit them in between their respective revenue pockets until they realize that dialogue and partnerships with libraries is in the interest of everyone involved.

  • Rose Khoury, CB / WV says:

    1. A common a complaint I have received from library customers about eBooks is that it can be confusing to get the eBooks from the computer to a reading device. My resolution to the problem is to try and help them with as much information as I know regarding their device and also direct them to the “Need Help?” box on the downloads page on our website. The SJPL website has some very comprehensive information about downloading eBooks. In most cases, this seems to make the customers feel better about the eBook process so that they can successfully use the eBooks provided to them by the library.

    2. In addition to using the SJPL website as a resource to keeping up with eBooks, I like to refer to listservs to help me learn more information about them. One specific listserv that I feel delivers the most up to date information relating to libraries and eBooks is Library Link of the Day. ( This listserv is not specifically for eBooks, but it definitely delivers the latest news and information relating to eBooks when it is announced. For example, if you check the archives of the website for November 23, 2011 ( you will see a link about Penguin Publishing no longer selling eBooks to libraries.

    3. I think it is very important for library customers to speak out about how eBook availability is diminishing because it limits access to our customers. eBooks are here to stay and becoming increasingly popular, so it is very important to speak up now so that libraries are able to provide more eBook titles to their customers.

    Rose Khoury, CB / WV

  • Aleta Dimas, KPRR-UPS says:

    1) Many customers are confused by the different services that provide e-books and how to utilize each one. I try to take them one step at a time and start with a particular book they are interested in.

    2) I do not currently have a source for keeping up with e-books (other than the trainings provided).

    3) I think that this is an opportunity for large organizations such as ALA and PLA to advocate on behalf of all libraries. It seems that new solutions and compromises my need to be thought about. Perhaps part of the reluctance on the part of publishers has to do with the fact that e-readers are still most prevalent among more affluent individuals, who have more expendable income and are less likely to complain about not being able to get the e-book at the library.

  • Kat Luedke, CB/WV says:

    1. We are getting more and more questions and comments about eBooks every day at WV & CB. We even regularly get folks coming in with their brand new device still in the box, asking if we can help them set it up. I think the number one complaint I’ve heard from customers using OverDrive with portable devices like Kindle and Nook is that it’s just too complicated to navigate all of the steps, especially the initial setup with downloading and authorizing the software. I’m relieved when I see a device that uses the OverDrive app because it’s so much easier to explain. When it comes to helping frustrated eBook customers, I think the best thing we can do is stay up-to-date and informed, put on a patient smile, and walk the customer through the process to the best of our abilities by showing them on the website where everything can be accessed and downloaded. I like showing customers the MyHelp feature through OverDrive because it breaks down the process nicely, and the video tutorials under our “New Users” guide are also very helpful.

    2. As SJPL’s YA Fiction selector, I use a variety of print and online sources to stay informed about new titles to consider for purchase, and more and more of these review sources are featuring information about eBooks and which titles are available in digital format. I particularly like VOYA and School Library Journal because they are increasingly offering articles and commentary about how kids and teens are using eBooks and other digital content. Also, I own a Nook, so I receive emails and occasionally browse the B&N website for titles that they offer.

    3. As always, communication is key. Libraries need to continue to make the case to publishers through various forms of public advocacy that we are friends, not foes, and that we should be able to offer eBooks to our customers like we’ve done with print materials in a way that is fair for both parties. Obviously the potential revenue models are still being worked out since the publishers still need to be able to collect money, but in the meantime, limited and/or denied access to content is unacceptable and further puts libraries at risk of slipping into cultural irrelevacy. I think being honest with our customers and explaining why they are not seeing certain titles or limited access to certain titles will encourage the public to get more involved and to join the librarians in the fight to keep both print and digital content available in libraries.

  • anling wu says:

    1. Customers are finding out about the rules of borrowing ebooks and just asking questions.
    2. I rely on Infopeople or Webjunction for resources, like Mary Minow’s class:
    3. ebook club will help.

  • Virginia Leslie, Rose Garden says:

    1) I haven’t had a lot of complaints from patrons, yet, though I did have one person ask me how there could be a waiting list for an electronic book. I explained that the publishers give us access to a limited number of “copies” of the ebooks. I checked out an audio book a while back, that I was planning to listen to on my ipod, only to discover that the file wasn’t compatible with my Macintosh, so my solution to that is going to be to find another computer that I can access my iPod/iTunes account from.

    2) My main source for information about ebooks is the SJPL website, since I don’t yet have a reader of any kind. That’s the source I turn to when explaining ebooks to patrons.

    3) I definitely think that people should contact the publishers and make their voices heard. How else will the publishers know how the public feels? I suppose a FaceBook campaign could be tried, spreading the word about the lack of ematerials available to libraries.

  • 1. I have not had any complaints from customers rerarding ebooks.
    2. The only resource i can think of is our website and catalog.
    3. I think alerting the public and getting them involved on the issue of diminishing ebook availability for libraries is a good idea.

  • Claudia Hernandez/BLA & EB says:

    1. The biggest complaint that customers say to me is about their availability and on being in a long waiting list.

    2. I have not yet been doing a lot of research about eBooks but I would imagine that Amazon, Barnes & Noble and would provide some information. I do reference our own catalog for all requests.

    3. Any opportunity that one has to support the libraries and make the publishers aware that customers want to see more collaboration with their providing ebooks for free at the public libraries will help a whole lot.

  • Tri Nguyen JE/AL says:

    1. I havent come across any complaints from our customers yet. But lately I do have a lot of customers ask about the ebook. It seem like more customers are interesting in Ebook.

    2. Use the Library Calalog and Amazon

    3. The customers should speak up and make complain to the publishers, and hopefully the publishers will provide what customers needs.

  • Ramses Escobedo BLA/EB says:

    Ramses Escobedo BLA/EB

    1) I have heard a few complaints:

    – All the different digital formats can negatively affect capability with all eBook and eReader enabled devices.
    – People with minimal tech savvy knowledge find it difficult to keep up with device updates, formats, etc. They also have trouble with interfaces that are not user friendly.
    – Limited selection of titles.
    – Etc.

    – Resolutions: The first times I received these kinds of questions I was caught off guard, I do not own eBook and eReader enabled devices. I had to educate myself by going through the motions with the customers, or on my own time. I think it is very important to train our staff members on how to assist patrons with eBook and eReader related issues, as the number these types of questions will be increasing in the future.
    As I became a bit more comfortable I encouraged customers to come to me or other staff members for help and guidance. I also referred them to our self-help instructions in our library website. Regarding the limited selection I have mentioned that the availability of titles will vary from hard copies because digital formats are fairly new and the libraries are in a transitional to adapt stage that requires adjustment.

    2) I do not own an eBook or eReader enabled device. When I read I like to read hard copies, I find it a bit easier on my eyes. However, if I need information in such formats I rely on public library websites, such as SJPL, SFPL, etc., as well as on

    3) As the article presented suggests, I think it is imperative to make the public aware of the precarious situation the libraries are in regarding public eBooks and eReaders availability. Contacting all parties involved in this struggle (publishers, libraries, ALA, etc.) and making their voices heard is something the public should in order to find a solution that benefits everyone.

  • Monique Jurado-EB week 2 says:

    1)I have not had any customer compliants at EB in regards to Ebooks.

    2) I do not keep up with ebooks resources, because I prefer going to the library and borrowing books.

    3) It is unforntuante that publishers can’t find terms on which they can agree on with the library. Maybe if customers complain enough customers might get the results the were looking for.

  • Fernando Campos/ Pool says:

    1. I have never had a patron ask me about ebooks.

    2. I do not read ebooks so i cannot answer this question.

    3. Basically, all that needs to be done is for the library patrons to openly express their interest in ebooks to the publishers. As long as demand increases, publishers will need to figure out some way to deal with this problem and satisfy library patrons/ebook enthusiasts.

  • Peggy Elwell says:

    1. At the Biblioteca many people do not have access to a computer at home, or an ereader or other device. In addition, there is very little available in Spanish. So, I have never been asked there for help. I have explained how to use the online resources.

    At East Branch I was asked for help by one person and we looked at the help/compatability pages together to solve her problem.

    2. I use overdrive for my Kindle.

    3. Yes, we should advocate for better access for our users. We have to work for the common good.

  • Marcia Rouvell KPRR Week 2 says:

    1. Often have to give help to people about how to download the software for Overdrive, download books. I walk them thru it with the help on our website and reassure them it gets easier.
    2. I check our ebooks from SJPL and NYPL. (have a nook) and try to keep up with changes seen there.
    3. I think the ALA is advocating our position. We should support them. Letting our customers know the situation seems like a good idea as well. It impacts them.

  • Rosa Avalos- CB/WV says:

    1. We get tons of questions on how to download e-books (Nook and Kindle are the most asked about). A lot of people find it hard to figure out the process of getting an e-book. I refer them to the help section of the Overdrive website or I refer them to a librarian.
    2. Overdrive is the website that I am more familiar with and play with from time to time. I use that on my phone sometimes.
    3. The public should definitely contact the publishing companies and let them know how unhappy they are with their tactics. Letters sound like a great idea.

  • Lucille Boone says:

    1. How do I get access to this e-book listed in the catalog? is one of the most common questions I get asked. Usually this person is not familiar with downloading e-books — I always direct them to the information section on the web site — there’s a lot of help there for the person who is willing to take the time, but I realize it’s frustrating for customers who have never used ebook providers like Overdrive before.
    2. I don’t keep up with eBooks as a genre — I prefer first checking individual titles in the catalog, or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, depending on the device on which I want to download them. I find Project Gutenberg and similar sites helpful for classics and dated materials which are hard to find elsewhere.
    3. Yes, libraries should advocate for easier eBook access — but through library organizations — there’s strength in numbers. Also out-spoken advocates like Sarah Houghton Jan in her Librarian in Black blog have done great work — but are the publishers listening?

  • Nancy Donnell RG/WG Wk 2 says:

    1. The most common complaint tends not to be about the collection, but understanding how to access the content for their device.
    2. I like to look at the NYTimes e-books list.
    3. I think we need to make a case for accessibility for new titles as well as the long term electronic access availability of the content. Clearly the publishers are looking at the diminishing returns of the popular titles over time. They have no idea which title will become a huge hit like Hunger Games or Harry Potter or a flash in the pan title where the public will lose interest after a couple o f years. The Harry Potter/Hunger Games titles become their bread and butter products that provide them a consistent stream of income that help them fund publishing and marketing new titles. I’m not sure how we should alert the public. However, possibly on the local level we need to have a public discussion or open forum with representatives of the public libraries and publishers.

  • Karen Habra says:

    Three Part Assignment:

    1) I have had many customer questions about how to download library ebooks to Nooks, Kindles, Android, Laptops, etc. etc. For some reason customers get stuck at some point in the checkout/ download procedure and are often frustrated and disappointed that their new Nook or Kindle is not so easy to use. This is my strategy for answering their questions / complaints : I show them SJPL’s Download Page on our library website. On the far right of this page is a box that says NEED HELP ? That’s where I go and I show the customer the Quick Start Tutorials for the Nook and the Kindle when using Overdrive . Thank goodness these tutorials are available. They are simple, and use pictures to illustrate how to download to a particular device. Customers prefer this to a densely worded instruction guide. The FAQ section of the NEED HELP page also addresses many of the issues that customers are confused about with eBooks. The online help is great, but I often wish we had some sort of printed bookmark with downloading instructions that we could give the customer to take home. Since I do not own a Nook or Kindle I rely on the NEED HELP instructions on SJPL website.

    2) My favorite online resources for learning about eBooks is SJPL’s website ( Downloading ) and all the information passed along by Mana and staff workshops. I am learning more about eBooks from this exercise. Generally I do not seek out information on my own… simply because I am not a big eBook reader. I rely on SJPL to keep me informed and up to date ! Both PA and VL now have Nooks and Kindles to practice on and that has been a great help as far as becoming familiar with the devices.

    3) As far as being proactive in pressuring publishers to provide more eBooks to libraries, well, I think eventually public pressure will mount as more and more readers move towards eBooks. As a society we are in the midst of a digital revolution and as time passes we may see an increased use of eReaders, or we may not. Only time will tell. Right now everyone is excited about eReaders, but not everyone is financially able to purchase computers or devices to read eBooks. For the majority of readers the paperbound book is still the standard way of reading a book.

    Karen Habra PA /VL

  • Mary Cage says:

    1. It’s not so much a complaint as a question, but many customers are struggling to figure out the basics of getting a library eBook onto their device. I have talked them through it to the best of my ability, referred them to the help files on our website, suggested the eReader Petting Zoo, and recommended they sign up for a 1:1 session with one of our tech volunteers.

    2. Our own website has lots of good information in the Downloads section. I’ve also found the Overdrive eBook webinars to be useful.

    3. I think public libraries could do a better job of educating the public about the various publisher models for library access to content. Once people understand how it works (or doesn’t) and some of the problems, they may be more likely to take action on their own.

  • Joe Ho @ Tech Serv says:

    1. Lots of questions on supporting devices and apps.
    2. Knew about the service before but this is the 2nd time using/downloading a book:)
    3. The public should make the voice heard if they want to see more titles and options from the publisher.

  • Sheela Singh says:

    Sheela Singh CB/WV

    1. One of complaint from patrons has to do with downloading E-books to their device. Some patron’s mention that they followed all the steps and still weren’t able to download the item. I refer them to the Help page.

    2. The library catalog.

    3. We should encourage both library staff and customers to get involved in communicating with the publishing companies.

  • Carmen Burciaga BLA/EB says:

    1. I haven’t experienced complaints from customers, but I have one; you need an instruction guide to understand the instructions guides.
    2. The digital resources that I follow are on the comments posted here. The suggestions by others, and the Library training classes.
    3. My last comment on the diminishing availability is political participation. Each district councilman needs to be involved; political clout is very important. State Senators etc;.
    or pass it to “Occupy Wallstreet”? (just kidding)

  • Kim H., BLA/EB, Week 2 says:

    1. I am an Aide and have not had any questions regarding eReaders/eBooks.

    2. SJPL

    3. Customers should make their needs known to the publishers.

  • Elsa Mora-BLA/EB-Week 2 says:

    1. E-books are not very popular at BLA/EB. I share information about e-books with customers when helping them navigate the catalog.

    2. SJPL & Amazon

    3. As the use/purchase of eReaders continues to grow, customers will make their needs known.

  • Amrita Kaur - BB & EV - Week 2 says:

    Name: Amrita Kaur
    Date: 3/28/2012
    Branch: BB & EV

    Ten Techie Things – Week 2 – Assignment

    1. Post a common complaint a customer has brought up with you regarding eBooks and your resolution to the problem.

    A common complaint a customer has brought to my attention regarding eBooks was frustration with having the eBook only accessible through a device such as a computer that is connected to the internet. The customer was upset that the SJPL main home page using a “catalog” computer “restricted” access in viewing an eBook directly from the catalog search results (due to no connection to the internet at this type of terminal). The customer was new in learning how eBooks worked and wanted to have one available to be seen via a “sample demo” from the Library Catalog or the My Account section from the SJPL homepage at a “catalog” computer. He basically said, “If I can sign into my account from the catalog computer, I should also be able to download an eBook from this computer.”
    I understood his concerns and my resolution in handling the complaint was to inform the customer about our policies and reasons for enforcement. I explained that the library “catalog” computers were meant for information/reference purposes only. I explained there are sections of the library that have “internet” access computers available for purposes of accessing eBooks or other internet related things (email), with a 2 hour limit enforced. As a courtesy, I did walk the customer over to a staff terminal (with internet access) and showed how the eBook link worked from the Library Catalog. I was able to “download” one for demo purposes and he appreciated the ease and convenience involved. He then decided to also reserve his own computer in the Tech Center to browse through titles he liked to check out (to access at home also).

    2. What is your favorite online resource for keeping up with eBooks or learning more about them? Please share at least one.

    One of my favorite online resources for keeping up with eBooks or learning more about them is the EBSCO Legal eBooks. I have always liked the organization of EBSCO in general as a site to locate reference items and see new eBooks available. I found their site to be very user-friendly and very helpful for “students” or “parents” looking for sources to address academic assignments. When I was in College, I never used eBooks, but lately with so many new devices out there (and actually owning a Kindle and smart phone), I have grown to like eBooks. EBSCO has always been a professional and credible source to refer to when reference questions arise. I appreciate EBSCO since you do not have to “check out” or “transfer” eBooks to a specific device using their site.

    3. What do you think public libraries should do about diminishing eBook availability? For example, should we alert the public to write letters to publishers, as some librarians are encouraging ? Please share your thoughts about this critical issue.

    There are many action items public libraries can do about the diminishing eBooks availability issue. After reading the assignment for this week’s exercise, I viewed the “American Library Association President Molly Raphael, ALA Delegation Discuss Library E-book Lending with Publishers” article by Steve Zalusky (2012). In this article I learned about this issue in-depth and also encountered great suggestions in helping the Library resolve this issue. One suggestion stated within this article was to have the Library conduct on-going discussions with Publishers who already sell e-books. “Publishers clearly place a high value on the library role in discoverability” (Zalusky, 2012). Therefore, since the Library promotes all types of materials, eBooks are a collection area that has gained a lot of popularity amongst all types of individuals. Majority of these individuals want to learn more about eBooks and how to encompass them into everyday life. Often, when individuals are exposed to something new, they perform a trial on it to “test drive” what it is all about. Ebooks that are “borrowed” from the Library provide an opportunity for customers to later purchase items from Publishers (either in electronic or hardcopy format). Sometimes, the Library also sponsors Author events to spread the word about new books released. This promotes positive relationships to be built and sustained between Libraries, Authors and Publishers. Therefore, simply engaging in discussions about these ideas will result in eBook availability issues to be addressed better. In addition, yes, alerting the public to write letters to Publishers is not a bad idea. I think it helps convey the importance libraries serve for customers about discovering and learning about new types of items, such as eBooks. Since eBooks can be “borrowed” (just like a test-run) at the Library, most likely this will also increase sales to be generated for actual Publishers (since there is already a cap limit set at Libraries).

  • Rita Cotillon @ AL/JE says:

    1. I’ve had eBook questions but no complaints. Most of my eBook customers are first time users not sure how the process works. Explaining is simple and the online tutorial is a great tool.

    2. Our catalog.

    3. eBook availability may be diminishing at our local libraries but there may be other free eBook websites we can suggest. Personally, I’d rather wait to have a real book in my hand.

  • Richard Lopez -- BLA/EB says:

    1. I honestly haven’t yet come across a complaint or commentary of any kind from customers regarding eBooks at my branch (BLA/EB). It seems that many of them don’t even have computers at home.

    2. Doing a Google search regarding eReaders usually is a good idea for anyone looking to do a little research. Beyond this, I am not qualified to give any advice to someone trying to keep up with the latest developments.

    3. I think continuing to inform the public about the issue is important. If enough library users raise concerns about the situation, maybe publishers will rethink their position. It seems that many of the publishers’ concerns are based on wrong assumptions regarding how library eBook programs operate.

  • Maddy Walton-Hadlock, AR/HB says:

    1. I’ve heard customers complain about the difficulty of downloading eBooks from the library, especially for the first time. I usually try to walk newbies through the steps and assure them that it gets easier once they’ve downloaded the required software and checked out their first item. After that, customers seem quite happy to not have to pay for their eBooks!
    2. My favorite resource is Mana Tominaga! Her eBooks presentation helped me understand the ins and outs of working with eReaders in the library. I don’t often use eBooks myself, but I try to keep up with current library issues surrounding DRM through savvy librarian friends on social networking sites.
    3. I do think diminishing content has the potential to become a critical issue for libraries, so I would support a campaign to inform our customers about how it might affect them and the integrity of libraries. If customers complain loudly enough, publishers might listen.

  • Jessica Reilly, TU/SA says:

    1) I believe I only had one instance of helping a patron with eBooks. He didn’t know where to find them on the website, so I showed him the link. He figured it out himself after that.

    2) I don’t own an eReader so I don’t seek out information about their materials. I’ve only noticed it in the news regarding libraries. This might change though if I get one! =)

    3) If a patron is inquiring about our selection of eBooks, I believe it would be appropriate to let them know that certain publishers don’t sell to libraries. We can mention that these publishers will continue to do so unless they actually receive public feedback. Educate the patrons on the situation.

    I think the publishers are overestimating the “friction” between checkouts and it’s correlation with waiting for materials and purchasing books as a result. For instance, if it’s a popular title, most patrons who put a holds on a material typically don’t rush to purchase them anyways. If a patron sees 32 holds on an eBook, it’s probably just as discouraging as a hard copy with same number. If they want it now, they’ll just buy it, if not, they’ll wait.

  • 1. A patron called our branch and didn’t know how to check out a book on the OverDrive website. She explained that she was not good with computers, and had just started using her eReader. I just went onto the website and guided her through the process step-by-step.

    2. My favorite resource for keeping up with ebooks, if I wanted to search for ebook news is.. Google.

    3. The diminishing eBook availability to public libraries is a sad issue. We should encourage people to occupy the parking lots of the offending publishers with a picket line and a sweet BBQ.. or just do what other libraries are doing and make people aware and encourage them to express their opinion in a formal manner.

    Oscar Delgado
    East Branch / Biblioteca

  • Kathryn Azevedo, EB

    1: A common complaint is not being able to “return” ebooks early, if the customer does NOT select 7 or 14 days as a checkout period rather than the default 21 day period. This limits their ability to checkout more titles.

    2: A great resource for keeping up with ebooks is the eReader Resource page from the Internet public library (IPL):

    3: Customers need to complain directly to publishers and libraries.
    The more people complain, the more likely to be heard.

  • Tina Drew - PA/VL/KL says:

    1. The main complaint I get is the difficulty with downloading ebooks. I walk them through the help pages online, but if this doesn’t help I refer them to the help contact or have them email sjplebooksupport.

    2. I try to read about ebook issues in professional journals (PW/LJ). I don’t read about them online unless I see something in the online news.

    3. I hope libraries will continue talking with publishers and vendors about ebook availability. It’s good to encourage the end users to make their feelings known to publishers.

  • Peter Nguyen, Evergreen/Berryessa says:

    1. A complaint that I had regarding ebooks is not being able to view the book that they had downloaded. My resoluation to the problem was to see if they have the proper software installed in their reader. For example, an iPad user had to download Bluefire Reader before they can view eBooks.


    Good EReader


    3. Raise public awareness about this problem and encourage users to write to publishers.

  • John EN / AB says:

    1. Some customers were unclear about downloading with Kindles; there are instructional PDFs available from various websites.
    3. Promote noncommercial ebook sites, e.g. and

  • Barbara Arango BB/EV says:

    1 I don’t recieve to many complaints. I usually get people who just recently own one, and are confused on how to use the device.
    2 I’m not one to keep up with eBooks. However, I do use Google Books a lot to find and overview a book that I would like to own. It’s thru these SJPL excercises that I learn about the latest on eReaders.
    3 Definitly alerting the public about the issue. Eveyone has made great points! Let’s raise awareness.

  • Pilar Sanchez says:

    1. I am an aide at BLA and I would be lying if I said that I’ve helped a customer with a complaint about eBooks, it’s something that is barely starting to catch peoples interest, so there for it hasn’t been my experience to be helpful in that area.

    2. I personally am not a big fan of eBooks. It takes away the experience of holding an actual book, the feel, the texture, the smell, the intimacy. You don’t talk to anyone when you use eBooks, you just click and purchase and isolate, it robs us from the experience of interaction with others. I rather go to a book store or a library and actually interact with someone other than myself. it’s a lack of culture.

    3. Like i said on question #2 I’m not a big fan of eBooks so yeah we should encourage the public to write letters to the publishers.

  • Anonymous says:

    Phuong Nguyen Bla/Eb

    1. I work at BLA/EB I haven’t come across any complaints. Our patrons gather use their time on the computer than asking us questions about ebooks.
    2.The library catalog
    3.The good thing about the library diminishing eBooks is, to get people reading more books.

  • Amber Hargreaves BB/EV says:

    Some customers get really frustrated the first time they try to download an ebook from SJPL. It can be pretty confusing and frustrating because the process is different for each device.

    I do not really keep on ebooks. I have several devices that are ebook capable, but I like to hold the actual book whenever possible.

    Publisher’s should charge a lot more for ebooks and then allow libraries to have unrestricted circs. If publishers sold a physical copy of a popular book it would circ for a few years, then be discarded because it would be falling apart. Ebooks can circ an infinite amount of times, which means libraries will not purchase new copies. The publishers need to make up that revenue somehow. They could charge libraries a lot more, or limit the number circs, but the bottom line is they are a business, so they probably won’t change their ways on this. Even if the initial cost is more, ebooks may actually end up saving the libraries money because staff does not need to check in or shelve them.

  • Bryan Le says:

    1. The most common complaint customer’s inform me about is that they can’t get the ebooks from Overdrive after they’ve added it to their basket and proceed to checkout. I double check and inquire if the customer has created an Adobe Digital Editions account. Usually that takes care of the problem, but not all the time. For Overdrive users I also recommend they have a look at the tutorials under “Overdrive Help: Getting Started.”

    2. I admit I don’t really follow or have a favorite online resource for keeping up with eBooks or learning more about them. Sorry I can’t share any resources…

    3. It’s unfortunate that public libraries are losing eBook availability. To start off I think writing to the publishers is a great idea. Referencing the article from the ALA News, libraries are a place of discovery. Without libraries sometimes publishers may not even get noticed let alone have their purchased. Libraries are a great place to sample the piece of work and sometimes customers will even go out and purchase the title because they love it so much or need to finish the title because they ran out of time and don’t want to miss out on the ending or in our case the waiting list.

  • Michele Rowic, Tully/Santa Teresa says:

    I do not get too many complaints about eBooks. Instead, I get questions about how to download eBooks. Some people have a peripheral device in hand (Kindle, Nook, Sony, etc.) whereas others aren’t even sure what eBook means. I typically show the customer around the SJPL website, the New User’s Guide to eBooks, FAQs and OverDrive’s Help pages. With customers who have a Kindle, I try to have them download a book while they are in the Library. Customers are usually happy to leave with a plan of action.

    If I haven’t recently helped customers with OverDrive or other eBook providers, I periodically look for changes to the eBook providers’ web interface or if there are new instructions for downloads (i.e. with the Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1 you can download eBooks directly to the reader). Otherwise, my eBook updates come from serendipitous occasions when I am reading a newspaper online or surfing the web.

    I like the San Rafael idea! I think educating ourselves and exposing the problem to library customers is critical to resolving this issue in a way that is satisfactory to all who are involved.

  • Anonymous says:

    1. problem w/ downloaded ebook? it could be internet connection fail or might not have a right digital reading software.

    2. I usually download/view children books.

    3. I’d asked what’s customer opinion on this issues and to understand their needs.

    Nhan Huynh @EB/BLA Week #2

  • Kristen van der Molen / KL says:

    1. The most common complaints I get from library customers are:
    – It is confusing with all the different ways to download books to different devices.
    – They are surprised to learn that the books have waiting lists. I think they are under the impression that if it’s online, it’s accessible all the time.

    2. I wouldn’t say that I keep up with eBook resources. It’s more that I want to know if a book I’d like to read is avaialble, so I will search by author/title in OverDrive. I will sometimes use Amazon or Barnes and Noble (I have a Nook) to check on things I want to suggest a purchase for!

    3. I feel like more customers would get involved in the fight to keep libraries in this arena if they were aware. It seems like there just isn’t enough knowledge about the lack of “sharing” with some publishers. It seems like the customers might want to be aware that the publishers are trying to get $$ and restricting what the public has access to unless they pay for it. I personally think it’s crazy that an eBook costs the same as a regular book, especially after you broke down how many resources an eBook DOESN’T use compaired to a regular book!

  • Anonymous says:

    Probably the most complaints I’ve received regarding our ebooks is how tricky is it to authenticate the Adobe Digital Editions. I’ve shown customers that it’s easy to create an account directly on their site and then the authentication process is quick and easy. The other issue is that books have a hold queue. I let them know that if they want, they can just add those books to their “wish list” instead and keep an eye on them if they choose not to wait in the queue.

    2. I am on an Overdrive email, and got the one today regarding the Harry Potter books being released on Ebook and EAudio. Other than that, I just look at our site when I have a chance. I also use the “show only copies available” when doing the advanced search. I use this when I just want to find a book quickly, without having to go through a huge list.

    3. I think libraries need to work with the Ebook companies/publishers to work out a fair/agreeable price structure for their products. Having checkout restrictions is too time consuming for libraries. The Harry Potter books will have a 5 year limit and that’s more than reasonable.

    Linda Keirstead – BB/EV

  • Eric Young-WG - Week 2 says:

    1. “I got this for Christmas. How do i use it?” I take them to our homepage and show them the ebook section. I tell them abour Overdrive and the online tutorials and faq’s. I suggest they take some time to read over and try downloading a book. I also mention that we have volunteers they can schedule time with at WG to guide them through the process.
    2. I have a Nook color and will shop the Barne’s and Noble site. I also utilize SJPL’s homepage. I get news, ocasionally, here and there from sites like: Mashable and Wired
    3. Use whatever means to explain this issue to the public: community info. areas, homepage, etc and make postcards available to send to the various publishers. Online petitions and campaigns can be effective.

  • Alvyn Ly, Biblioteca/East Carnegie Branch says:

    1. Being a Library Aid, I have never been in the situation where a patron has asked me anything about E-Books.

    2. In regards to E-Books, I really haven’t given myself the opportunity of reading an E-Book as of yet. My sister has recently gotten a Nook, and shes been enjoying having it around as a means of passing time. I would like to give one a try, and I’ve seen possible places to get E-Books at sites like and

    3. For the problem about the diminishing number of E-Books in circulation within the entire Library System, I would says that a good solution to the entire thing would possibly be to wait. With the number of E-Book readers growing rapidly, people will grow accustomed to E-Books to the point where the customers themselves will begin to lodge complaints to E-Book providers about the lack of availibility of E-Books. Of course Librarys should be taking a little action towards the small number of E-Books, but in this time and age, I believe the problem will take care of itself. The general public today is extremely vocal about their likes and dislikes, and it would only be detrimental to E-Book providers if they continue to avoid and deny readers from Library access to E-Books.

  • ricardo maldonado( bla branch) says:

    1) at this point i have not gotten any complain by any customer about the library having ebooks.

    2)honestly, i dont really keep up with ebook updates, simply beacuse i am not convince to buy one yet. it would be great to get an ebook for the reason that i wont be looking out for damage pages or folding pages after im done reading. so i dont use any resource to keep me updated of the ebooks at this moment.

    3)in my opinion i believe that libraries should not get ebooks. simply because i believe that if we have ebooks in our library, the value of a book will decrease. also the library is used for the public to check in books and take them home. having one or two ebooks will be good but the rules for the public to use them must be very strict, due to the fact that the device has more value. if th epublic really wants them in the libraries, then writting a letter will let the publisher know about what you waant in your public library.

  • Daniel says:

    Daniel Ong, BB/EV, Week 2 (pt. 2):

    3. 1. Continue to promote eBooks, not only amaong customers, but also local and state government
    2. Support ALA in getting the message across to Federal Govt., and then to nationwide publishers: WE need more Books.

  • Daniel says:

    Daniel Ong, BB/EV, Week 2 (pt. 1):

    1. I can’t recall receiving a customer’s complaint recently. There are common questions about using eBooks with the Kindle and Nook. I used the “Need Help?” section to find the answers, especially the “Supported Devices” section, which is very helpful. I would guess other common complaints could be focused: 1. The complexity of using eBooks from various vendors/collections. Isn’t it nice to have the same eBooks work on different devices/platforms? – Interoperability is the key; 2. Inability to check out more 5 eBooks.

    2. The Digital Reader:
    Library Journal:
    New York Times:
    Digital Shift: (from Library JournaL)
    Access to this article about the growth of eBooks use (dated 10/2011)

    3. What do you think public libraries should do about diminishing eBook availability? For example, should we alert the public to write letters to publishers, as some librarians are encouraging ? Please share your thoughts about this critical issue.

  • Anonymous says:

    1. A common complaint I get is that they don’t know how to get the ebook to their ereader. I helped a customer yesterday on her Kindle Fire and she didn’t know that she had to use overdrive and to get the book to her reader. I showed her step by step on how to do it first by looking on overdrive for the ebook and the check out process. Then how to log into to get the book to sync with her ereader. If I am not sure about the ereader – I just go on our website and look up the process.

    2. My favorite online resource to keeping up with the technology trend is It is up to date and they compare the items and gives me a good look at the technology in a technical prespective.

    3. I am a firm believer that if you believe or want something to speak up. The ebooks are great but I can see how it can be an issue with publishing and profit at the same time but only time can tell if this will be debatable about in a few years since it still to me a new concept.

    Duy Tran – Pool Unit

  • Nina Petrova, EV/BB says:

    1.Customers do ask about e-books at EV/BB. Most complaints are – how come I cannot access e-book after I checked it out? Problems vary from software problems (customers do not know that they need to download a certain software to their computer or apps to mobile devices) to connection problems (they do not know that for some devices they need to transfer files to their devices after they download them to their desktop’s hard drives). The other complaint I can recall – why there are waiting lists for most popular titles?
    2. OverDrive is sending me e-mail updates as to a former SJPL eBook support team member. The other sources are, library catalog and Downloads section pages. It is great to have so many resources and learn about new ones like Ebsco and
    3. It would be good to post some information in Downloads section and maybe ask customers to comment on shortage of eBook resources for libraries. Also it would be good to inform the customers more often about other free sources such as

  • Moises Flores BLA/EB says:

    1. At my current branches customers don’t own those type of devices. If the customer has a computer at home I suggest to them the electronic resource depending on availability.


    3. I think it would be a good idea for libraries to contact publishers to try and work something out. Ebooks have changed the publishing industry.

  • Anonymous says:

    Patricia S.

    I work at BLA and I haven’t come across any complaints. Our patrons aren’t very tech savvy. Our younger patrons might use more devices but still no complaints.
    I only use our SJPL website for updates and information to keep informed. I am not too thrilled about the eBook gen.
    The good thing about the library diminishing eBooks is, to get people reading more books. Also getting them to go out into their community’s to make it a better place in all locations. The reasons why people like eBooks is because this is an, I want it now gen. Also you don’t have to worry about fines or renewal, and sometimes popular books aren’t available at the library.
    The bad thing about diminishing eBooks is that we won’t be following the trend of all the book stores and technology which we are part of since we are in Silicon Valley. I’m sure there are other ways to get community’s involved at their local libraries.
    I personally rather check out books. Sometimes it is a bit of a drag having to wait on popular books but I’m a busy person so doesn’t bother me too much having to wait. I enjoy having a book in front of me rather than a tablet or phone.

  • Tim Collins says:

    1. common complaint re ebooks:

    When I was part of KPRR from about Sept 2010 to about June 2011, the complaints I got about eBooks were Technical in nature, and the complaints came electronically, not in person, naturally enough. I would assist folks as I could, referring to the FAQs we had. Maybe half the time, that was sufficient. The other half of the time, I would refer the query on.

    It’s only been fairly recently that I as the English-language adult non-fiction selector have been selecting such books in the ebook format in addition to the print format. As an ebook selector, we get purchase recommendations that are usually mild, but sometimes downright indignant, passing the line from “purchase recommendation” to “customer complaint” that we don’t have such-and-such a book. Of course, the same can be said about print books.

    2. favorite online resource for keeping up with ebooks:

    I don’t know that this qualifies as “favorite” but as a selector I’m on mailing lists from Overdrive. Baker & Taylor, our primary vendor, is now (and actually has been for some time) in the ebook market as well, and I regularly refer to their website pretty much on a daily basis. Also, I’m on B&T mailing lists. On the B&Tsite, I get news about books of all formats, not just ebooks.

    3. As customers complain, yes, let them know what the situation is. Being in the position I’m in, I tend to see things from the Library and Library Customer’s point of view. But yes, with a customer who complains in a way that you can have some interactivity with the customer, try to briefly explain the situation from both the Library and the Publishers point of view, and let customers know who the appropriate people are to contact when they don’t like a situation they are faced with – and that advice pertains to ebook publishers regarding ebook policies, government officials regarding library and library materials budgets, and a whole host of other circumstances. I think I would save the non-interactive communication for maybe a website informational area or something like that, or working through State and National Library organizations. I have mixed feelings, and actually somewhat negative feelings, about local libraries going on a big advertising campaign about the issue “on its own” so to speak, without the customer bringing it up first.

  • Margaret Yamasaki/ KL/ KPRR says:

    1. Customers actually complain why we have a particular title in ebook format and not in print. Or why we have so many ebooks as opposed to whatever they are looking for in print.
    I try to explain the increasing popularity of ebooks. Ebooks don’t wear and tear, offer 24 hr. accessibility when the library is closed, etc, etc.

    2. I learn a lot just by working here and helping customers with ebooks, I learn along the way, trying to figure things out.

    3. I think libraries need to work collaboratively to work with publishers since we are in a symbiotic relationship. We need to stress the importance of libraries to the publishing industry since they obviously view libraries as either adversaries or insignificant. The whole “friction” idea is absurd. Have they not tried to download an ebook from one of these vendors? There is “friction”, lot’s of it, with all the downloading of proprietary software and hoops to jump through.

  • Maria Canchola says:

    1. At this branch I have not had any question about downloading books. We do not have a lot of people with those devices to download e books. When I search for books and only found them on electronic format I find out for the customer if the book can be read on line or needs to be download into a devices, unfortunately sometimes our customers do not even have a computer at home.

    2. The library catalog.

    3. Keep talking to the publishers (make them understand that greed is not healthy for any business in other to prosper all business need to reach to the community)

  • Moises Moreno says:

    1. One of the most common complaints I have received is the availability, or rather incapability, to download electronic books when there is a waiting list. This type of customer typically believes that since it’s electronic, we can distribute infinite copies. Easiest resolution is to inform the of DRM, how it applies to electronic media, and the library.

    2. Asides our library catalog, of course, one of my favorite websites I have used is Along with general books, also provides a section for ebooks. Great online community which you can connect through facebook or other social media outlets and see what others are reading, rating, and their feedback.

    3. Involvement. Showing publishers that the public has a great interest in expanding availability of eBooks through library events, stats, and other media sources may make them think to expand the digital rights to alot more titles.

    Moises Moreno
    Tully / Santa Teresa Library

Leave a Comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading TechieThing #2 – eBooks and eReaders! at TenTechieThings.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: