Kindle: another way to borrow books

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John F
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Kindle: another way to borrow books

Post by John F » Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:23 am

A while back I wrote about public libraries as a free and convenient source of eBooks; see "New York Public Library - not just books." Now I've found out about another source: amazon.com itself. They have a program called Kindle Unlimited in which, for $9.99 a month, we can borrow any eBook in their "Kindle Unlimited catalog," containing 600,000+ titles.

That in itself is a limitation; there are nearly 3 million books in the Kindle Store. And many of the books I value, such as most of Charles Rosen's, aren't available for Kindle at all. I understand it's the publishers, not amazon, who decide this. Still, that's over twice as many eBooks as in the very large NYPL collection, and I see quite a few that I want to read but not to buy.

Subscribers can borrow up to 10 Kindle books at a time and keep them as long as they want. To download another beyond the 10, one of those borrowed titles must be "returned" - the user picks which one. Another limitation, but a sensible one - who reads that many books simultaneously?

Amazon offers a 30-day free trial period, after which $9.99 a month is charged to the credit card. If you cancel your subscription, any eBooks borrowed from amazon are "returned." Information about the service is here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer ... nk20273-20

https://www.amazon.com/Kindle-eBooks/b? ... wFeatures=

Haven't tried it yet, but I'm going to.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer ... nk20273-20
John Francis

jbuck919
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Re: Kindle: another way to borrow books

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:57 am

I haven't forgotten about your previous posts. I've had my NY and Brooklyn Library cards for quite a while now. One of the first things I discovered is that half a million e-books can very well not include a single one I'm interested in, at least one that is available soon. It is a scaling up of the general library situation whereby most acquisitions meet a large popular demand, e.g., pulp fiction, best sellers. Look for Laurence Tribe's recent book on the Supreme Court and forget about finding it as an e-book, in NYC or the North Country. (In fact, it is also not available locally as a hard-cover because of the waiting list for maybe two copies in five counties, and I might have to break down and buy it.) I actually downloaded an e-book on gun control just to see how the process works, but the book turned out to be anti-gun control. Can't win for losing.

I also found the websites for the libraries to be incredibly non-user-friendly. Again, they are serving a population of millions and I shouldn't expect everything to be simple or obvious. Then at some point in July I ran up against a stone wall trying to download music, which of course should be the big benefit. I think I was looking for "Don Carlo" (chosen arbitrarily as a major work I had not heard in years and of which I have no recording), but the libraries seem to break this up into separate "songs" a la Amazon.

I have been meaning for a while to take you up on your offer to guide me through this via PM, John F, but I've actually been busier this summer than I am normally during the school year. So I haven't given up, but I certainly experienced a degree of initial frustration.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
Posts: 18780
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Kindle: another way to borrow books

Post by John F » Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:17 am

Sorry to hear that. Of course we can't borrow what they don't have, but I'm here to testify that if they have something, borrowing it is indeed possible. :) I'll provide some details in a bit.

Four recordings of "Don Carlo" (aka "Don Carlos") are available for download from Overdrive. If you'd like to have a go, here's the page listing them:

https://www.overdrive.com/search?q=%22V ... +Carlos%22

I didn't find them in any library catalogs but by going directly to the Overdrive web site and using their Search. Once you've downloaded, the recording will be visible in the desktop Overdrive Media Console. The tracks (songs) are listed, but the recording should play straight through - like a CD.
John Francis

John F
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Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Kindle: another way to borrow books

Post by John F » Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:28 am

This is from my write-up for NYPL information desk volunteers. It's very terse and stops short of a walkthrough of the various processes, but it's a start.

EBooks and other digital materials are borrowed by downloads over the Internet. Up to 12 titles can be borrowed and up to 15 can be placed on hold at one time. Borrowing period is 1-3 weeks depending on the user's choice, except videos which can be borrowed for 3, 5, or 7 days.

To borrow digital materials, the user must be registered at My NYPL which is on the menu of the NYPL web site. Registration and login require the bar code and PIN of the user's NYPL library card.

EBooks, audiobooks, music, and video are included in NYPL’s online catalog. They are identified with a blue button labeled “View Online Resource.” Users looking for eBooks etc. alone can Google on the expression “eBooks, Digital Images & More.” On that page, click on “E-books and Audiobooks from Overdrive.”

Also available are other sources, beyond NYPL's catalog, of materials which can be borrowed with a library card. They are Bookflix, E-books from 3M Cloud Library, AudioBookCloud, TumbleBooks TumbleBookCloud, TumbleBookCloud Junior, and Freegal Music. Also NYPL Collections Scanned By Google, which are listed in the NYPL online catalog; when in the public domain they can be read online in the browser. Also Digital Gallery, a NYPL site of images digitized from the Library's collections. Links to these sources are on the Web page "eBooks, Digital Images & More."

EBooks can be read on portable eBook readers such as the Kindle or Nook, or on personal computers or mobile devices (tablets, cell phones, etc.) with the necessary software installed. They can be downloaded in several formats. Not every eBook is available in all the formats; the options for each title are given when the user downloads or puts the title on hold.

Personal computer (Windows or Mac only) - Requires installation of Kindle for PC software (free), an Amazon.com account, and registration at Amazon.com's web site. Download eBooks in Kindle format to the PC and open them in the Kindle software. For other eBook formats such as ePub, install Adobe Digital Editions for Windows (free) and obtain an Adobe ID.

For audiobooks, music, and video, OverDrive Media Console (free) must be installed in the computer. The MP3 and WMA file formats can be downloaded and listened to in the Console.

Now for a little more detail about finding what you want to download. You can use the library catalog or you can go to the library's separate catalog of eBooks etc. in its collection. The latter is best for you since you don't intend to borrow printed materials.

On the home page for Brooklyn Public Library, find E-Books And More in the list at the left, click it, and then click on Downloadable Media from Overdrive. Save this browser link so you can go directly to the eBooks section.

The New York Public Library takes a different route. On the home page, when the mouse pointer is over Explore, the drop-list includes E-Books & Audiobooks. Click on that, then click on E-Books and Audiobooks from Overdrive. Save this browser link too.

Now you should be viewing the start page for finding and requesting digital stuff. There's a big menu at the top for browsing, and a tiny search box if you know what you want. For books I always use the search box. At the NYPL site I've just entered the name of Michael Innes, the detective story writer (not to be confused with Hammond I.), and found two titles. If you find what you're looking for, there'll be an open book icon on the thumbnail of the cover - black if the book is immediately available, gray if you'll have to wait. With the mouse pointer over the thumbnail, you'll see a button - either Borrow or Hold. Click. When you do, most often you will be given a choice of formats - Kindle, which is proprietary with amazon.com, and ePub, which is public domain. I say choose Kindle whenever you can, which will be nearly all the time.

I believe the rest of the process of requesting a download is straightforward, but if I'm wrong and you have a problem, tell me. However, actually executing the download of a Kindle book may not be as straightforward, though by now I can pretty much do it without thinking. If you follow the instructions and yet the requested eBook doesn't turn up in your desktop Kindle for PC, say so and I'll say more.
John Francis

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