Many U.S. libraries will let you borrow electronic versions of books using your Mac, iPhone or iPad. But using an app on the iPad you can check out e-books and audio books.
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. Today let’s look at borrowing book from the library, using your iPad. So you may not realize this but you can use your iPad to borrow books from the library. I’m not talking about actual physical books; I’m talking about getting the books onto your iPad. First thing you want to do is check with your local libraries, search for its website and see if they have an e-book lending program. And if they do, see if they have any information about getting those e-books onto your iPad or iPhone and audio books as well. I found that my local library has such a program and I’m able to actually borrow these books directly on my iPad, using an app that they recommended.
First I used my library card to establish an online account and then I was able to browse the books they had available for lending online.
Now first you want to pay careful attention to formats. There are all sorts of different formats and some of these can be played fine on your Mac say using Adobe Reader but they won’t work on an e-book reader on the iPad. Same thing for audio files, some of them will work on your Mac, some will only work on PC and others will work on the iPad or your iPhone.
So, my library directed me to download the OverDrive app. The OverDrive Media Console and here is where I was able to browse books and audio books from my local library. So here is some that I have downloaded. I did that by tapping ‘get books’ plus at the upper right. And then I had to add a website, which was a little difficult to figure out what they actually wanted me to do but eventually I was able to get Denver Public Library added. And if I tap on it, it actually launches a safari that goes outside of the OverDrive Media app and this is just me browsing safari on my, you know, logged into my Denver Public Library account.
Once I found a book that I wanted, I hit the download link and it had registered the OverDrive Media app to actually to receive that document. So I was then able to go back to overdrive and see it appear in my library. So here for instance is a e-Pub book and I’m able to flip through it. It’s not as pretty as iBooks, there’s no special effects but I’m just able to flick on the right and look through this book and there is some book marking functionality there. It’s definitely much more difficult to use, you have to tap on just the right spot to bring things up. I can bring up the controls there, the table contents, change the font size.
Now for audio books, a little tap on that and then simply play that through whatever drivers I’m using. I was actually able to use Airplay as well to — to play it and it seemed to — it seemed to work pretty well though there was this point that it seems that I can only download this book to my iPad now, I’ve taken it out of library and it’s on my iPad. And now if I want to move it to my iPhone, where I would normally listen to audio books, doesn’t seem to be a way to do that. I have to return the book and then take it out onto my iPhone.
So libraries buy licenses to lend these books, which means they can only lend out number of copies that they have licenses for. So if they have one copy of a book, they can lend it out once and nobody else can actually borrow that book at the same time. So you’re going to find all these books that you could only put on hold, you can’t actually borrow right now onto your iPad. This means that selection is usually slim. I counted very few books available in the first place and then very few of them actually available at this moment, not being borrowed by somebody else.
So while borrowing books from your library over your iPad does seem to be an interesting option, it doesn’t look like one that would replace buying books anytime soon. So check with your local library, see what sort of program they’ve got, and whether or not you could borrow their books on your iPad. Till next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.