Alternate Readers

10/06/2010 09:26 AM

The nook (not the 3 G version) and Kobo cost under $150.00 and both work with OverDrive ebooks which most consortia carry.
They also work with Gutenberg project [free] ebooks.
The Kindle,  as others have pointed out,  does not work with OverDrive (and Ingram) ebooks and it seems that libraries have to use a workaround
to purchase titles for that device.

Does anyone know if Gutenberg titles are downloable on the Kindle?

I just bought a nook for personal use (and love it!) but would have preferred to have first borrowed different types of devices from a library to try these out at home.  It’s great that libraries will allow patrons to borrow devices but please consider these other eReaders in addition to the Kindle.
My two cents.

Eileen Chandler
Member Services Manager
CLAMS (Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing)



7 Replies to “Alternate Readers”

  1. I agree with Eileen on this — the Kindle is very popular but it was
    designed with a single purpose in mind, buying content from Amazon.
    It’s not clear what sort of library model, if any, Amazon will ever have
    for the Kindle. As Eileen notes, it’s great for libraries to make
    different devices available for people to try before buying. I do,
    however, hope that people understand that when they buy a Kindle, they
    are limited in where they can buy titles to read on it, and will
    probably get all their new books from Amazon and not from the library’s
    OverDrive collection.

    Re: the Gutenberg titles on the Kindle — most Kindle users get the
    public domain books through the Kindle store, where they may cost
    anything from $0 to a few dollars. This is the easiest way to get these
    titles, because it sends them directly to the device.

    But all of the Gutenberg and other public domain titles are available
    from many other sources. My favorite is
    ( because it lets you download books in many
    different old and new formats, including Kindle (azw), Mobi, Plucker,
    Newton, PDF, Large Print PDF, iPod Notes and Custom HTML. No matter
    what device someone has, they’re apt to find exactly what they’re
    looking for here, and not have to deal with using any sort of file
    conversion software.

    Elizabeth Thomsen, Member Services Manager
    NOBLE: North of Boston Library Exchange

  2. If I’m understanding this correctly, Overdrive will offer an app for the Ipad shortly. At least this is what I think the company stated during the “infomercial” part of the recent workshop “Ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point”. This will be in line with their recent Ipod/IPhone app, which certainly facilitates audio download on these devices. Right now there’s no compatibility at all with Overdrive e-book titles and Ipads, so this will certainly be an improvement. Of course I’m not sure exactly which titles will be available for patrons to download onto their Ipads.

    Also, “Blio” – the ereader software developed by Ray Kurzweill promises to be compatible with ALL ebook devices (that’s by far the best solution, in my opinion). Again, that doesn’t indicate the actual books will be free but allowing our patrons to use the ebook reader of their choice is definitely desirable.

    Laura Dankner
    M.M., M.L.S.
    Cataloging and Circulation Librarian
    David and Joyce Milne Public Library

  3. Thanks Elizabeth for the additonal information on free eBook content.

    I would like to clarify to the list that the 3G nook works just fine with OverDrive content but now there is the option of the less expensive nook device.

  4. I’m not sure, but it looked like the Blio is a computer program, NOT a piece of equipment. Did I read the info incorrectly? Any of these companies offer software for computers, but I want something smaller.

    Jennifer Inglis, MAT, MSLIS
    Framingham High School

  5. I thought Blio sounded great so I downloaded the version for the PC, which is what’s currently available, and I’m not sure it’s ready for prime time yet. It was a bit clunky (which really surprised me), but I was very excited when I heard there would be mobile apps available soon.

    Laurie Lessner
    Assistant Director for Technology Services
    SAILS Network

  6. I think that Blio is just going to add to the complicated web of
    incompatibilities. Blio has its own ebook store and, to quote from a PW
    blog post about this:

    “Blio will not support ePub titles consumers may have purchased from
    other e-bookstores, ‘ePub books from other vendors have different DRM
    and are not compatible,'”

    (Blio Finally Arrives and Complaints Follow; KNFB Responds:

    We’ve got device manufacturers, booksellers and publishers all stumbling
    around trying to find a publishing, distribution and pricing model that
    works, and things are pretty confusing and ugly out there. I have a
    feeling that they’re going to get worse before things settle into some
    sort of new model.

    My favorite blog about the publishing/e-publishing world is BookSquare:

    (although it depresses me that libraries are rarely mentioned.)
    Elizabeth Thomsen

  7. Yes, Jen, Blio is a downloadable piece of computer programming from the Blio website that will enable people to read the books that Blio offers. You load the program onto your computer, then sync it up to whatever other device you would like to use.

    There are free public-domain books, and books for purchase. The bookstore is on the reader software, so you don’t have to go to another website to purchase. Buy, download, and read on one “page.” The e-book you get looks much more like the book you would buy, with the fonts, colors, graphics, and layout of the print book if you choose to read it that way. You can also take notes and look up words right from the page.

    The minuses…

    You might have to scroll up, down, and sideways to be able to read a book with full graphics/layout formatting. The audio portion is an electronic voice with no nuance. (One of these days, I hope that e-books will be fused with actors reading audio books!) The books are still somewhat one-way (author to reader) like codices are. But I think Blio is on the right track of giving readers multiple options for devices and formats.


    Sharon Hawkes
    Lenox Library Association

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