Monday, May 4, 2015

eReaders and the Library - Save time and money!


Feel Like Star Trek

Yes, that's what downloading a book from the library for your eReader will feel like. It'll feel like Star Trek. It'll feel like you're in the future saying: "Computer, get me that new book by Tim Ferris".

Imagine, being able to get a new book, with a few clicks, for free, delivered near immediately to a device that has a battery life of weeks. Not only that, but an eReader is comfortable to read on for hours and hours without an eyestrain. The future is here, or at least it's been here for a while, but just now I'm getting around to telling you about it.

Why Would I Read Books? I have the Internets?

When I tell friends and colleagues about the amazing world of eReaders and public libraries, I'm surprised at how little interest I get. Most of my friends either claim to "not have the time" to read, or prefer to surf the web. I'd challenge the time part, since most people are probably able to find time to watch television or use alternate media. If you can't find the time, then perhaps an eReader can help you Make The Time, through clever use of a satchel.

If you don't believe in reading, versus browsing things on the Internet, consider the following:

  1. If the websites you're reading are 500 words, or 1000, even if you read many of them, how in depth can the author ever get?
  2. If (1), doesn't this mean you're only ever getting snippets of information?
  3. If it takes you 30 seconds to read a webpage, but 5 seconds to find it or to browse from the last page to the next, aren't you spending 5/35 =   14% of your reading time finding the next thing to read?
  4. If (3), then wouldn't you have all of that time back if you found a book and spend a continuous 3-10 hours reading it?
  5. Do you believe that you don't know what you don't know?
  6. If (5), then isn't there great value in reading a large amount of material, that's been sorted, and ordered by an author, over a period of months or years to get it just right?

Perhaps I haven't persuaded you, but consider these points, books are pretty awesome and an eReader makes books even more awesome.

Ok, How Does It Work?

 Step 0: Does my library support eReaders

Before going out and buying anything, check that your library support eReaders. If it does, confirm what type. The Toronto Public Library doesn't support Kindle, but does support Kobo or any device that reads ePub format.

 Step 1: An eReader

So, if you're going to be reading much, I recommend an eReader. I have been very happy with my Kobo eReader. I actually have the original, first generation Kobo, complete with a button to turn the pages. It's not fancy, and newer models, including inexpensive models, are much better, but it gets the job done.

If I can be happy reading on a 2010 reader, then you'll find any modern device great.

Step 2: Library Card

You'll need an active account at your library, google how to do this. In Toronto, you need to go to the library with a bill or something with your Toronto address on it.

Step 3: Do It!

The Toronto library's online download website is called Overdrive. here's getting started guides here and other resources available.


Getting library books with an eReader let's you:

  1. Never pay late fines again, since the books "automatically" return/expire
  2. Check books out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So you're not constrained by the hours physical libraries are open.
  3. Read books on a device that's lighter and smaller than a book.
  4. Save time, and potentially gasoline, by not having to go to the library in person
There is a Kobo Touch model for $79 , although it's no longer in stock on the website. Higher end models like the new Kobo Glo HD are $129. Either way, the advantages of eReading definitely outweigh the costs.

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