Oct 19, 2010

An Australian eLending experience

One of my primary reasons for getting an e-book reader was for reading the wealth of classics available at the Gutenberg project.  Then at same stage in the future I hoped that libraries in my state would cotton on to the idea that ebooks and eLending were  here and I would be able to borrow ebooks from the library.

No more waiting
No, South Australia still hasn't got round to sorting out eLending, although I hear it's on the horizon.  As some twitter followers and fellow bloggers will know, I was able to join as a member of an interstate library and access their ebook catalogue.

What,Where Who?
I was able to join online as a member of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library who in partnership with the Brisbane City Library provide a download collection.  Now I filled out my contact details truthfully, stating my correct home address in South Australia, so I presume that at this stage they are happy to have me as an extra statistic member.

How does it work?
Very similar to signing up to purchase books through any online book retailer.  You have a user ID and a password.  You browse the online catalogue and add books, if they are available, to your account.  If the libraries copies are all booked out, you can go on a waiting list and you will get an automated email that will let you know when the book is back in.  You have 3 days to accept and download the book. Otherwise I presume it defaults to the next person on the waiting list.

When you are ready to download your books you go to the checkout and begin the download process.  You download an .acsm file which can be opened by Adobe Digital Editions(ADE).  When you access it in ADE it displays the number of days left before the file becomes unreadable.  I haven't yet reached the expiry limit on the first book I borrowed, so I am not sure whether I will have to delete the file form my reader/computer or whether it will remove itself, I presume the former.

How about your reader?
I have successfully transfered three titles from ADE to my Sony Prs505.  The sony displays a little timer symbol counting down the days for any borrowed books.

Does it work for kindle?
Libraries in Australia appear to only offer ebook downloads in epub or pdf format.  I haven't tried converting one of the files using Calibre, I assume it has some form of DRM on it though.

Audio books
Before I forget you can also access audio books through the same process.  I haven't tried it yet due to the rather large downloads, but for those of you with partners who like listening to audio books(Amanda), it might be worth joining up.

E-book adventures is my weekly series post outlining my exploration of the e-book format. See other posts here and join in the discussion.


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