Thing 16: ebooks and ebook apps

Ebooks are well suited to the convenience of mobile devices, but it is not a ‘one size fits all’ scenario.  Tablets and smart phones can act as ereader devices using apps, while other library clients may prefer to have a dedicated ebook reader (eg. Kobo, Kindle, Nook, Sony etc.)  Sometimes these electronic paper ereaders  are preferred over a tablet or smartphone because the screen may be easier to read in bright sunlight and the battery life is usually longer.   On the other hand a tablet or mobile device can have several ereader apps loaded providing access to a wider range of content.

Whichever type of mobile reading device your clients prefer, as library professionals we have a few challenges to consider:

  • assisting clients to find suitable ebook content in a marketplace where some content is free, some is added to library collections via subscriptions and some is only available for individual sale and cannot be offered to library clients
  • explaining to clients what DRM and proprietary formats are and why that means that not all ebooks can be read on all devices and some content that they would like to access is not available in their geographic region
  • hosting locally created content that is born digital (eg. local history ebooks, subject guides, etc.) and content that is converted to digital (eg. British Library eBook Treasures  )
  • assisting some clients who are learning how their own devices work and what content is available for that device as most ebook use in libraries is BYOD (bring your own device)
  • keeping up as ebook formats evolve and become more interactive like this example
  • working collaboratively with publishers to find effective models that allow readers and books to connect in both bookseller and library environments



  • There are a wide variety of options for delivering ebooks to clients, including links in your catalog, portals on your website, vendor supported apps, library specific apps and the Library Box .
  • There are a number of eBook related pins on our Pinterest board


  • How well do you know your clients and community?  What devices and file formats are most used in your community? Does the preference for device and file format vary across the ages and groups in your community?
  • How will you keep library staff up to date with the latest ereaders and apps?
  • How will you provide ebooks in languages other than English for clients?
  • How will you display and promote ebooks?
  • How will you manage inter-library-loan requests and suggestions for purchase from clients who prefer to read ebooks?

7 Comments on “Thing 16: ebooks and ebook apps

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  2. I would really love to hear about any library that has developed a way of promoting ebooks. Apart from promoting the service/resource as a whole how do you do it? We use Overdrive and the choice of titles has improved significantly but I don’t understand why you can’t limit your search to adult items only. I find it frustrating to have to trawl through the junior items when I just want to browse the adult collection.

  3. I was surprised there was no mention of DRM on the previous post which is the underlying principle of Adobe Digital Editions. However I am glad the issue of DRM was covered here, albeit briefly. I hope one day we don’t need an adobe ID’s and the transfer of book can be done solely within the app using only library barcode and PIN without any extra sign ups and hurdles. Check out for some anti DRM information

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  6. Pingback: My Patronus Is a Bookworm - Thing 16: ebooks and ebook apps

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