14 October 2013

eBooks 101 Commonly asked questions

Loan eBooks from the Libraries ACT Overdrive account
The ACT Digital Hub in the Gungahlin Library hosts regular group and individual sessions on ebooks. Over the past months we have collected some questions that are often raised and we would like to share them with you.

What is an eBook?

An eBook is a digital version of a traditional (or physical) print book and may come in many formats. eBooks come in visual as well as audio formats.

Why would I want to read an eBook?

Many people love eBooks because they are convenient, light and easy on the environment. A lot of eBooks can be loaded on to a single device, so you carry one eReader which weighs a fraction the weight of a dozen or so physical books!

What can an eBook be read on?

eBooks can be read on a range of fixed and mobile devices. Most people read eBooks on one or more of the devices listed below:
  • desktop computers
  • laptops
  • smart phones
  • eReaders
  • tablet computers

Does it matter what kind of device I have?

Yes. Different devices serve and perform different functions.For instance, tablet computers, can perform many of the functions computers can. They are therefore a multifunctional device that can be used to read books, browse the internet, check your email, play games on etc.
eReaders, on the other hand, are primarily designed to read books on and are less multifunctional than tablets. They use eInk and need reflected light to be read in just like physical books. This means that they can be read for longer periods with less eye-strain.
Which kind of device you read on depends on personal preference and particular lifestyle requirements.

Can I borrow the ebooks from the library?

There are some key things you need to know in order for you to borrow books from the library:
  • You need a compatible device. Here is the list of compatible devices.
  • You need to be a library member before you can borrow eBooks from our collections.
  • You need to know your library membership number and have set up a PIN (Personal Identification Number) to access your account. If you don’t know what your PIN is you can ask at your local library to have it reset – it’s very important that you keep it safe and secure.
  • You will need to be connected to the internet while downloading/borrowing an eBook – you do not need to be connected to the internet to read it after it's downloaded.

So I just go to the website and borrow an eBook?

There are few steps that take you from having all your material to getting the eBook onto your device:
  • Download ‘Overdrive’ onto your device – this allows your device and the library to be on 'speaking terms'
  • Navigate the library’s eCatalogue, select a book you wish to borrow and then download it.
  • If you have a tablet device, you will be able to download the eBook directly onto that device.
  • If you are using an eReader you will need to use a computer or a laptop to act as a go-between to download a book onto your eReader.

What do I do if it doesn’t work?

Come talk to us! Because downloading eBooks requires several digital technologies to talk to each other, there are number of places where there can be a breakdown in communication.
Perhaps you would like to attend the next eBook session at the Digital Hub on the 7th of November. It will take you through the process of borrowing an eBook from the library step by step.
You can also call 02 6140 4990 or email digitalhub(at)act.gov.au to book a 30-minute individual session with our trainers to work through your questions.

Happy reading,
The Digital Hub Team