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Library eBooks Part I looked at how the big six, now the big five, publishers licensed their books to libraries using three different vendors. Some of the publishers have decided to offer their collections on all three platforms while others are only using one or two. Libraries then select one or more of the platforms to offer the books to their patrons. As a result, your library may only offer OverDrive, which only carries books from some, but not all, of the publishers.

As in all new industries there is a period of time in which confusion and chaos seem to reign, and for my money, that is what we are seeing in the world of the publisher/platform/library. Further confusion is created since not all three platforms support all readers, Kindle being not fully supported in two out of three of the platforms.

Only OverDrive fully supports Kindle, Axis 360 provides an app for the Kindle Fire only and the 3M Cloud Library doesn't support any reading on a Kindle. So, if you own a Kindle and your local library only uses 3M Cloud, you might feel like reading no further. However, all three platforms have software applications that can be used on smartphones and both Mac and Windows computers. You may not be able to read a particular book on a dedicated eReader, but you will still be able to read it. Free.

But first, get a library card.

Below the divider doodle you will find cheat sheets, with images, for all three library platforms.

Find your library's website, and then find the tab that hides the ebook library. For purposes of this diary, I am using the Snohomish Library, of Snohomish, WA because it uses two of the three ebook platforms. And it is the library in the neighborhood of a family member whom I love dearly in spite of his rampant technophobia. Although his wife has owned a smartphone for years, and he a Kindle, he recently upgraded to the Kindle Fire which gives him internet access for the very first time. Welcome to the 20th Century, Davy!

Personally, I wish that all platforms were as accessible to all readers as is OverDrive or that all Publishers would offer their collections through all platforms. But since they don't, we will look at all three platforms, beginning with OverDrive.


Click on image to enlarge

Once you have found the library, there should be a link to ebooks or "other."  In Snohomish the link is Movies & More. Poke around on your library's site to find the link that takes you to a page like this one:

BTW, you can click on all of these images to enlarge.

This page lists all of the different e-media available at this library. We will start with OverDrive, by clicking on its logo. That will take us here:

Once you have downloaded the OverDrive app, you can use this page to browse some of the OverDrive ebooks that are available. But first you have to find the link to the OverDrive Media Console. So we scroll down to here, and click on the GET THE APP button.

We are then redirected to the OverDrive website which features a menubar of ereader apps. A Kindle owner, like Davy, would click on the Kindle button. But if you own a Nook or an iPad or an Android, there is a button for those as well.

No matter which button you use, you will arrive at a page that looks something like this one. But it will show a link to Barnes & Noble for the Nook, or a download button for your computer and so on. For the Kindle, you will have a link to Amazon which allows you to "purchase" this free app. If you have any problems, OverDrive provides another link to follow to download it directly to your computer.

Then you simply open the app or install the software on your computer, register and begin browsing and borrowing ebooks from your library. In addition to ebooks, OverDrive also allows you to borrow and listen to audiobooks from your library.

And since I don't have borrowing privileges in Snohomish, the San Bernardino County Library website will be used to demonstrate borrowing and downloading a book onto a Kindle via OverDrive.

The book covers on this page include a small book icon at the top right corner. If the icon is grey, the book is not available for loan, but a request can be placed for it. I have selected a book that has a dark book icon and click on the cover.

Which brings me here where I can read more information about the book, and borrow it by clicking on the big bright borrow button. The right hand column indicates what formats are available to me with a Kindle edition OverDrive Console. Had I downloaded a Nook Overdrive Console, these would be a little different. Anyway, I decide to borrow this book.

The next step is to download this book, either as a Kindle eBook or an EPUB ebook. I check the Kindle eBook and am whisked away to Amazon:

And, as anyone who has owned a Kindle knows, the final step is to click the button "Get Library Book" which automatically downloads this to your Kindle. You should be aware that library books cannot be downloaded using the 3G service, but only via WiFi.

3M Cloud Library

3M Cloud works very much the same way. Find the media page of your library and click on the link. In Snohomish, we click on the logo.

We are sent to another page of the library's website which provides links to the supported readers and apps. In this case, since 3M does not support the Kindle, we will follow the Nook link.

Which takes us to the Barnes & Noble page where we "purchase" the free app and download it.

Once downloaded and installed, just follow these two simple steps as provided by the Snohomish Library's 3M page:

Axis 360

In order to demonstrate the Axis 360, I had to go to the San Francisco Public Library which offers a wide variety of ebook platforms.

Axis 360 uses two different reading apps and an audio app. They are all a free downloads and come in formats that can be read on computers (Windows and iOS), Androids, iPhones/iPads and Kindle Fire. (BLio also sells ebooks on its website.)

Axis 360 has its own e-reader app, the axisReader which can be downloaded from iTunes or Google play for android apps:

In order to read an Axis 360 book on a Nook, Sony or Kobo reader it must first be down loaded to your computer via Adobe Digital Editions. Complete, illustrated directions for doing that are here.

Since Axis 360 does not directly support Kindle, the BLio must be sideloaded onto your Kindle Fire as an app. Complete directions for that can be found on the BLio website (with pictures!).

Downloading BLio to your mac device is done through iTunes, while androids are, as they were with the Axis 360, downloaded via Google play.

A complete guide for downloading BLio, installing it, browsing for books and borrowing them can be found in this PDF file which also includes the sideloading directions linked above: Axis 360 and BLio Download Instructions I downloaded the app onto my own computer and shopped some of the sales. Which means I have even more TBR ebooks.

But that's not really a bad thing, is it?

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter and Community Spotlight.

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