Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How e-Books Can Save Your Marriage

DotMomming is celebrating a glorious alignment of stars over here, and we want to share the joy. It has to do with a few of our favorite things -- the public library, the iPad, and our Spousal Unit (in no order of preference).

Many readers already know the ins and outs of checking out e-books from the library. But for those who do not, we're going to help you get into gear with OverDrive, the library's e-book vendor. And in the process, perhaps we'll restore harmony to your household just as we did at our own.

  • No more fighting over the bedside lamp being on all night, since you can read books in the dark using your e-reader's black screen and white type! 
  • No more enduring your darling's cranky sighs at the sound of your pages turning, since your e-reader's digital pages turn noiselessly!
  • And need we remind you? These books are free!

What's not to love?

And for Kindle users out there, OverDrive is now available for use for the first time. Until last week, digital lending was limited to iPad, smart phone, Sony Reader, and Nook.

To help explain the process, dotMomming contacted Andrew Medlar, Youth Materials Specialist for the Chicago Public Library, to talk about e-books, the library's digital bookshelf, and where the kids are. We'll devote the next handful of posts to our conversation.

But first, the basic mechanics of how to check out an e-book through the public library.

"Patrons are invited to visit the Library’s downloadable media catalog at OverDrive to search and/or browse through our rich e-book collection," Medlar says. OverDrive offers several e-book formats, such as EPUB, PDF, mobipocket, and now Kindle Book. Before attempting to download a book, however, iPad users need to download the free OverDrive app. If you're using a Nook, you'll need to download the Adobe Digital Editions software.

"Once you find a title in which you’re interested, you’ll either be able to add the title to your cart or put the title on hold if all of CPL’s licensed 'copies' are checked out to other users." This step is intuitive, as a button to the right of the book information sits waiting for your click.

"If you place it on hold, you will be asked to provide an e-mail address where you will be notified when the title becomes available," Medlar continues. "If it’s currently available you’ll be able to add it to your cart and proceed to checkout, at which point you’ll need to enter a library card number in good standing and your ZIP code."

And there's more. Can you handle it?

No late fees. The book just "disappears" from the e-reader when the checkout period expires. While we love this feature, dotMomming does realize that we are single-handedly supporting the CPL system through our endless late fees. Will e-books put a dent in the library's revenue stream?

"While the automatic return of e-books does result in fewer late fees for the Library," Medlar says, "we actually see it as a great marketing point for potential patrons."

He's talking about you. Good luck -- in your reading and your marriage.


  1. Great post! I agree wholeheartedly with every bit.

  2. Thanks for this post! I've been so anti- e-reader forever but I have to admit, I LOVE the black screen feature. For the first time, I might actually consider getting one!

  3. I just got my e-reader (Kindle) a couple months ago and haven't tried it at the library yet. I love the automatic return feature where you don't have to worry if the book is shoved with your other books in the bookcase or buried under that pile of dirty laundry or somehow wound up being returned to the school library instead. If I'm not running around frazzled trying to get a book returned on time, the entire household is happier. Sounds like everyone wins to me!