Home > Books, Libraries > Let’s check out an ebook!* Or, seriously, people, why do we put up with this?

Let’s check out an ebook!* Or, seriously, people, why do we put up with this?

June 1st, 2013
  • Open library app on my phone.
  • Click “Downloadable ebooks”
  • Enter library card number and PIN to log into Overdrive (have to get up and find library card number by logging into library website. why can’t I enter my “EZ Login”?)
  • Browse books (top three are 50 shades. ugh.)
  • Search for a couple of things I’d like to read. Not found. (including latest Pulitzer winner for fiction?)
  • Search for Magic Treehouse books, as Miss7 has been reading them. Bingo!
  • Click to check out.
  • Get routed to Safari, with a warning I have to download the Overdrive Media Console. ok… click that link.
  • Routed to App Store (enter password), download Overdrive console.
  • Open Overdrive app. (also take a moment to put it in my Books folder)
  • Back to Library app.
  • Click title to open, Overdrive app opens.
  • …prompted to enter my Adobe ID (????), which luckily I remember.
  • Click to download, again.
  • Flip through 10 pages of front matter until I find table of contents.
  • Decide to return it since it’s not in Kindle format–that’s where Miss7 wants to read it.
  • …I can delete the file, or I can return THEN delete it. huh? ok, return then delete.
  • Click Get Books in Overdrive.
  • Looking at empty Downloads screen.
  • Click Get Books, bottom left.
  • Oh cool, I can browse by genre (but not by format).
  • Oh, there’s a format facet below the list of titles–didn’t see it for three screens.
  • zzz ok much faster just to search for Mary Pope Osborne.  Hooray!
  • Prompted to log in with Library Card number.  Gr! Who keeps their library card # on their phone? (I know, I know, people whose libraries have the right kinds of scanners… Don’t think mine does? Easier to carry the card on my keys.)
  • Library OPAC has timed out. Have to log in again to get card number.  Go find car keys with physical card on it instead.
  • Click to check out book – am asked this time which format I want, hooray!
  • Routed to Amazon page with itty bitty teeny tiny text. Touch “Get Library Book.”
  • Prompted to log into my Amazon account. Recently changed my password so have to look that up in Lastpass. (still very teeny tiny text)
  • Enter email and password.  Ooops, I must have made a typo.
  • Switch to computer since I’m sitting here anyway.
  • Go to library website.
  • Click elibrary > download free ebooks.
  • Yes, I mean ebooks.
  • click to get to Overdrive collection.
  • Skip the browsing bullshit and search for Mary Pope Osborne.
  • Narrow to Kindle format and search for “dolphins” in the title.
  • Click the single result.
  • Click borrow.
  • Mistype library card number. Look it up again. Dammit.
  • Click borrow again. Click Kindle.
  • Routed to Amazon page.  Click Get Library Book.
  • (Since I was already logged into Amazon via my browser,) Get a thank you page saying it will be delivered to the kindle. FINALLY.
  • Pick up my phone to see if the library app knows what I checked out.
  • There are two “accounts” – the physical things I have checked out and the digital things I have checked out.  Either way, I am…
  • Prompted to enter library card number. No, really.
  • Click one of the titles to view on the phone…. routed to Safari with a cryptic error that basically says I can’t have it HERE because I already have it THERE.

Let’s buy an ebook!

  • Pick up Kindle.
  • Press menu.
  • Click Shop in Kindle store.
  • Open keyboard; type in title.
  • Close keyboard.
  • Choose title.
  • Click Buy.
  • Huh.

* None of this is the fault of my library.  I love my library. They have fantastic collections, great buildings, a very usable app, unencumbered wifi, and WONDERFUL service.  Honestly though? I would rather just have my library give me a few bucks in Amazon credit every month than spend thousands of dollars on ebooks (don’t get your hair up, Amazon makes money from Overdrive deals too–Kindle format, remember?).

YES, authors and publishers should get paid.  YES, I want to pay my fair share for ebooks (either by paying my library taxes or by buying the damn things myself).  YES, I still read paper books.  YES, publishing is complicated.  YES, publication and distribution are expensive.  YES, we’re still figuring it out.

That doesn’t change the fact that it still sucks to “borrow” an ebook from the library.


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  1. Francisco Holmes
    November 28th, 2013 at 00:39 | #1

    E-books makes reading easier and it could be made still more easier to blind peoples is by using voices. I saw an article about dubbing voice over and i suggest it to you.

  2. June 1st, 2013 at 21:36 | #2

    Oh, and Pixel of Ink links to lots of free/bargain books, especially kids books. That has fed Miss9’s fantasy habit for a while now. :)

  3. June 1st, 2013 at 21:35 | #3

    @Andromeda, good for you… I wonder who *does* use these things? The checkout period is 8 days..

    @Megan – I’m the same way. I haven’t actually checked out a book that I have read, though–nothing I want to read is available. I’m glad I can feed Miss7’s Magic Treehouse habit, though.

  4. Megan B
    June 1st, 2013 at 17:55 | #4

    Yes yes yes. If only I weren’t so stingy and hate paying for ebooks when I know I can get them somehow via the (somewhat broken) library.

  5. June 1st, 2013 at 17:17 | #5

    I don’t put up with it. Having never actually borrowed a library ebook. Because it’s like this.

    (Says the person who WORKS IN EBOOKS. Yes. I know.)

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