Presidents’ Day! "How to" download eBooks

by Catherine H. Armstrong

It’s Presidents’ Day and libraries across the nation – including the Rochester Public Library and those in the surrounding communities – are closed to celebrate!  But just because you can’t physically walk into the library doesn’t mean you need to be denied the opportunity to check out that book you’ve been dying to read!  If you have an e-reader or computer, you can still go to Rochester or SELCO’s digital libraries and get that book you’ve been wanting and download it in just seconds.  It’s really quite easy!  All you need is an active library card and either a computer or an e-reader.

To begin, you will want to determine which format you need.  The most popular e-readers are the Nook, the Kindle and the iPad.  If you’re using a Nook, then the format you need is the “Adobe EPUB eBook.”  If you’re using a Kindle, then you’ll need the “Kindle Book” format.  If, however, you’re using an iPad, you have the options of downloading the free apps for both Nook and Kindle, as well as a variety of other options, so you should select whichever format you prefer or for which you have the corresponding app.  For me, I prefer the Kindle app and almost always download the “Kindle Book” option for the simple reason that I don’t need to have my iPad handy to download the book, nor is there any other software required other than the Kindle app on my iPad.  From my computer, I can simply use the option to “Get Book” after I’ve checked out the title, and it automatically takes me to my Amazon account and gives me the prompts to send it to my iPad from whatever computer I’m on.  Easy peasy!

If you still don’t know which format you require, don’t despair!  The Overdrive program is the liaison of sorts between your digital device or computer and the library’s e-book collection.  To determine which format you require for your device, follow this link and look for the option to “Get Started With…”  There you will see a list of devices necessary to view or listen to the library’s e-books.  Included in this list is the Kindle and Nook, but also the Sony Reader and other e-book readers, as well as information on Mac computers and PCs running Windows.  And that’s really just the beginning.  Just go to the page and select the device you prefer to use to read your book.

Once you’ve selected the format you require, you may or may not need to download additional software to your device.  If you do, however, require further software, the Overdrive Media Console and Adobe Digital Editions are the two most commonly required software downloads.  To download either of these software programs, you can follow this link.  Still feeling a bit unsure of what you need and how to get the appropriate software?  Don’t worry, Overdrive offers a wonderful step-by-step tutorial to help you.  Just follow this link for a guided tour.

Once you’ve selected your format and have any necessary software downloaded to your device, you’re ready to go!  It’s time to browse the library’s e-book selection. You can access the Rochester Public Library’s online digital catalogue by following this link.  If you don’t find something that grabs your interest there, you can also check out SELCO’s digital catalogue by following this link.

For most “readable” versions (versus audio versions) of books, you’ll want to look for those books that are offered as “Adobe EPUB eBook” or “Kindle Book.”  These are easily labelled just below the book title.  If the book is currently available to be checked out, you can “Add to Cart” and you will be taken through the prompts to either continue browsing or immediately check the title out.  If the title is currently in use, you can choose the option to “Place Request” and you will be prompted to submit your e-mail address to be notified with the book is available.

Once the book has been checked out, you can either download it to your device immediately from the check-out confirmation page; or you can wait to download it at a later time.  If you choose to wait until later, simply go back to the library’s digital catalogue, choose the tab for “My eAccount,” followed by the tab for “My eShelf” and type in your library card number and PIN to be taken to the page that shows all of the ebooks you’ve recently checked out.

Books from the library’s e-book selection are typically checked out for 14 or 21 days.  While the default is set at 14 days, you can use the prompt to change the check-out period to 21 days.  And the best part is that you don’t have to worry about returning it and paying overdue fees if you forget.  Once your loan period has expired, the book just “disappears” from your collection.  If you haven’t finished the book, then go back in to the library’s digital collect and check it out again.  It’s that easy!

If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer it for you.  Enjoy your Presidents’ Day and Happy Reading!

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