Category Archives: E-books

How do you compare?

Screens — whether they are attached to computers, e-readers, phones, or TVs — take up a lot of our time.  But how does your screen time compare to the average person’s screen time in this country?  Or in the world as a whole?

Gizmodo recently re-printed a cool graph that shows just that.  The graph is taken from a rather long report on Internet trends by venture capitalist Mary Meeker.

What do you think?  How much does your screen time compare?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Filed under E-books, Tech

An ebook to die for

BLR_Pedigree_FBgraphicHave you downloaded an ebook from the library yet?  Are you already an avid ebook reader, but just want to try something new?  Either way, be sure to participate in the Big Library Read in the Washington Anytime Library.  During the Big Library Read, anybody with a library card can download a copy of an ebook immediately — no waiting lists or holds — and read it on whatever gadget they own, whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, Nook, Android phone, Android tablet, Kindle, Kobo, laptop computer, desktop computer… well, you get the idea.

This time around, the book is Laurien Berenson’s A pedigree to die for — a fun mystery where our heroine’s only clue is a missing pedigreed poodle.  You can download the book now, and keep it until June 18th.  No need to worry about late fees, because the book will simply disappear from your device when the Big Library Read is done.  Overdrive, the company that provides the Anytime Library with its ebooks, hopes this will turn into a “virtual, global book club,” so if you like the book, be sure to talk about it using the #biglibraryread hashtag.

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Overdrive Media Console gets a makeover!

OMC-226x300Do you enjoy checking out the e-books and audiobooks we offer through the Washington Anytime Library?  If you use an iOS or Android device to read or listen to these books, you’re probably using an app called the Overdrive Media Console, and may be interested to know that there is a new and improved version of the app waiting for you in your app store!

If you have Android 4.0 (ice cream sandwich) or 4.1 (jelly bean), or iOS 6 or 7, you can take the new app for a spin.  The new console has a redesigned look and feel, and it looks like it’s a little easier to navigate.  For audiobook lovers, the new app allows you to choose how fast the narrator reads.  Even if you haven’t had a chance to check out digital books yet, now might be a good time to give it a try: the new app seems a bit easier to set up than the old one was.

If you don’t want to upgrade, though, or if your device doesn’t support the new console, the old version is still available.  And of course, feel free to bring any questions about either app to the library.

-Jane

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Filed under Audiobooks, E-books

E-readers: a green choice?

tabletFour years ago, the New York Times ran a blog post comparing the effects of e-readers on the environment.  Even though it’s been a number of years since the post came out, the jury is still out on whether e-books, print books, or a mix of the two is better for the environment.

Both the publishing and the gadget industries are big polluters.  Paper production, printing, and shipping print books all have a heavy carbon footprint. On the other hand, many device manufacturers don’t even release information about the hazardous materials they use to build their gadgets, and require large data centers to store e-books and user data. The question becomes even more complicated when you take into account people’s different reading habits, books that are pulped because of typos, and the insulation that bookcases against your wall can provide, reducing your power consumption.

But whether print books or e-books have a lower carbon footprint, the Times pointed out that the greenest choice (for both the planet and your wallet) is getting your books from your local library.

-Jane

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Grow your e-book collection for free: Pixel of Ink

pixelLooking for free and cheap e-books for your new e-reader?  Check out Pixel of Ink!

Pixel of Ink checks Amazon.com’s Kindle Store every day for free and cheap e-books.  If you’re interested seeing the books they’ve found, you can sign up for their daily emails, follow them on Facebook, or check out their Free Kindle Books blog.

Thanks to our Tech Services whiz, Millissa Macomber, for letting us know about this awesome resource!

-Jane

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What are Tech Tuesdays?

A cartoon picture of a computerTuesdays are Tech Tuesdays at the Burlington Public Library!  Library staff is available every Tuesday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for extended questions and instruction.  These are not a formal classes, but an opportunity to work one-on-one with library staff to get an answer to your personal computer and tech questions.

Feel free to bring your e-reader, tablet, phone, or laptop!  This is your chance to learn to download ebooks and audiobooks, or try out a new software program or Internet application. We also can coach you in word processing skills for your resume, uploading and downloading photos, cut/copy/paste skills, online test taking, career research, email, general troubleshooting, and any other tech questions you bring.

Tech Tuesdays are free and open to the public, so drop by some Tuesday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and we can help to de-mystify your tech experience.

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Zombie Awareness Month: ebooks and audiobooks!

Zombie sillhouetteMay is Zombie Awareness Month, and so every Thursday this month, we will be showing you ways to use the library to learn more about zombies.

This week, we will be highlighting our fabulous zombie ebooks and audiobooks, which you can check out and enjoy from your computer, e-reader, phone, or other device.  If you want to read a book, but the library’s copy is checked out — or if you just want to try out reading a book on a new device — you can find the following zombie titles (and more) online through your library.

From the Washington Anytime Library (ebooks and audiobooks):

  • The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks
  • Zombie Makers, a non-fiction book about “nature’s zombie makers — including a fly-enslaving fungus, a suicide worm, and a cockroach-taming wasp — and their victims.”
  • World War Z, by Max Brooks — available both as an ebook and an audiobook.
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith’s “classic regency romance, now with ultra-violent zombie mayhem.”  Also available as both an ebook and an audiobook.

From One Click Digital (audiobooks):

  • Grampa’s Zombie BBQ, an audiobook about Wiley and Jubal, two boys who unknowingly cause a zombie outbreak at their grampa’s annual neighborhood barbecue!  “Only Vera the lunch lady’s spicy beet borscht can save the party-goers now.”
  • Rot and Ruin, a teen audiobook novel about Benny Imura, a 15 year old who reluctantly apprentices with his older brother, Tom, as a zombie killer.

Of course, both the Washington Anytime Library and One Click Digital have plenty to offer for all of you who aren’t interested in zombies as well.  Just check out the links below and search for your favorite books.

One Click Digital AudiobooksWashington Anytime Library - Ebooks and Audiobooks

– Jane S.

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Big Library Read: a Global e-Book Club

BigLibraryRead300x250Overdrive, one of our e-book vendors, is hosting a Big Library Read.  People from 35,000 libraries worldwide are simultaneously checking out and reading the same book: Michael Malone’s The Four Corners of the Sky.

According to the reviews I read, the Four Corners of the Sky is “a long but satisfying tale of crime and death foretold”, with an “ambitious blend of humor, mystery, adventure and sentimentality.”  The plot follows “navy pilot Annie P. Goode, [who] comes home for her 26th birthday to her doting aunt and uncle in Emerald, NC, exactly where her con man father, Jack Peregrine, left her 19 years earlier. But Jack’s urgent message that he’s dying and needs Annie to fly his old Piper Warrior to St. Louis upends her life. Annie agrees, hoping finally to learn the name of her mother.”  However, the book is not for all tastes — one reviewer said that “this long novel could have used some serious editing, and a love scene or two between Annie and her Sergeant Hart would have been a welcome relief from the extensive Peregrine family history and the overuse of the f word.”

Not sure about the book?  You can use your library card number to find reviews of the book, or find a different ebook from the Washington Anytime Library.

If you are a Twitter user, you can discuss the book using the #BigLibraryRead hashtag.

– Jane S.

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Read an eBook Week

March 3-9 is “Read an eBook Week.”  According to the website, the celebration started in 2004, and “educates and informs the public about the pleasures and advantages of reading electronically.”  Like many of these recognitions, it was begun by publishers and authors as a way to bring publicity to this fast-growing market.  So why highlight it here?

1.  There are contests!  You can win free eBooks and eBook readers.
2.  It gives us another great opportunity to remind you that YOU CAN CHECK OUT EBOOKS AT YOUR LIBRARY!  Go to this webpage to learn what’s available, and/or ask us.  If you bring in your e-reader or tablet, we’ll help you get started.

Remember, you can read eBooks on a computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone.  It’s easy to try them out for free if you’re curious.

EBooks are great for people with vision difficulties, because you can change the size of the font and the contrast of print on the page.  They’re also nice to travel with: you can carry many, many books in a small device.  And I assure you, you can dip into e-reading without betraying your love for printed books.

So if you’ve been meaning to see what all the fuss is about, join the celebration this week!  We can help.
–Mary Beth

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Are you a green reader?

It’s tough to love both the environment and reading.  According to www.ecolibris.net (which is a charity that raises funds to offset carbon costs due to reading), 20 million trees are cut down every year to make paper for trees.  And would you believe every sheet of paper takes 13 ounces of water to make it so white?

The big question is, does digital reading decrease the environmental impact of publishing  and transporting over a million new books a year in this country alone?  It’s controversial, of course, and hard to measure – only Apple publishes the carbon footprint of its devices.

In general, researchers agree that if you’re only measuring reading itself, e-devices are WAY more green.  But if you include the carbon emissions required to produce the iPad or Nook or Kindle or whatever, the situation reverses: print books are the way to go.

But that’s based on the average adult reading rate in this country, which is, alarmingly, 6.5 books a year.  For those who read a lot, the equation changes.

Here’s the New York Times’ bottom line, taking into account the mining, production, use, and recycling impact of an e-device:

“So, how many volumes do you need to read on your e-reader to break even? With respect to fossil fuels, water use and mineral consumption, the impact of one e-reader payback equals roughly 40 to 50 books. When it comes to global warming, though, it’s 100 books; with human health consequences, it’s somewhere in between.

All in all, the most ecologically virtuous way to read a book starts by walking to your local library.”

Well said, NYT!   What do you think?

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