I’ve started to get into the habit of checking the Hamilton Public Library catalog when there’s a book I’m interested in that I don’t have a copy of, (and that isn’t in the public domain,) because it’s a good way of trimming the budget for buying books. A few weeks ago, after Storywonk announced Sophie Kinsella’s “The Undomestic Goddess” as their Book Club pick for April, I hit the online catalog and was surprised to find that it was listed as a library ebook.
Now, I’ve wanted for a while to try checking an ebook out of the library, but had never found an ebook listed that I was actually interested in. So I took a closer look. There were two ebook copies in the Hamilton system, both checked out, but no outstanding holds, so I placed a hold of my own, and the website assured me that I’d get an email notification when a copy became available.
And I didn’t hear back for a while, to the point where I was starting to get worried that I was misreading the part where the website said “Library copies: 2” and there weren’t any ebooks at all. In the meantime, Storywonk Sunday went on hiatus and postponed the Book Club discussion to May 26th. Finally, Monday morning, I woke up and found out that there was a notification in my email that it was finally ready to check out, two and a half weeks after I placed the hold. These titles can be checked out for 1 to 3 weeks, (with no early return because there’s no way to make sure that every reading device has deactivated the authorization codes,) and I think it’s a bit odd that both copies were checked out just a few days before I searched, but I’m not complaining.
So far, I’m impressed with the process of borrowing and reading an ebook. The library offered 3 different borrowing option with this title:
- Overdrive Read, where you read it online by signing into the website.
- Secure Adobe Digital Editions PDF.
- Secure EPUB, also through ADE.
I picked the EPUB format version, because I wanted to be able to read on a portable device instead of a laptop, and this seemed like the best prospect, with solutions for iPhone and Android smartphones. I’ve got a few Adobe Digital Editions EPUB ebooks from the Simon & Schuster ebook shop; they switched their system over to ADE quite a few years back and were able to roll over some of the books that I bought in Microsoft Reader or a very ancient Adobe DRM PDF format into ADE Epub for me. So I was familiar with some of the process.
It worked pretty well to start. Clicking on the ‘Download EPUB Book’ button on the website gave me a little .acsm file, and when I clicked on that, it opened up Adobe Digital Editions on my laptop, which proceded to debug the EPUB. I was able to copy the EPUB file into Bluefire on my iPhone using iTunes, and then I could open the book on the iPhone and read it in Bluefire. Bluefire isn’t my favorite smartphone reading app; they’ve improved the wide margins issue with recent updates, but they’re still not perfect. Still, it does get the job done.
On the Android, I ran into some issues with Aldiko. I followed the usual routine for importing an epub book, but kept getting a ‘could not open the file’ error even though Aldiko was authorized with my Adobe ID fine. I looked up the error message, and there was something on an Aldiko support forum where they suggested importing the .acsm file instead of the EPUB, which would let Aldiko download the EPUB as if it were a full ADE client. So I tried that, and it worked great. I was also able to import the EPUB into Bluefire for Android, just for completeness’ sake.
So far, I’m up to page eighty-something out of two hundred and seventy odd, reading on the Android with Aldiko. It’s a bit odd to see the page number stay at one number for several screensful, and then switch to two adjacent page numbers with a slash through them, but no obvious indication of where the page break is on the smartphone screen, but I can certainly live with that.
As far as the book; well, I’m liking it mostly, but finding a little of the humor cringey for my personal taste. Elizabeth Twist has given me some hints that the cringey stuff will be easing off, and I expect to like the stuff after the midpoint better. And while I’m at it, big thanks to Elizabeth for the shoutouts in her recent posts about Camp Nanowrimo and Plodders versus Slumpers. If you haven’t read those, you really should head over and check them out. :]
So, overall, I’m a big fire of the Aldiko interface. It’s got a lot of great options, including white text on a black background for reading in dark conditions, and a lot of control over the text size and margins so that you can get as much of the book on your Android screen as possible. And navigating from page to page is pretty easy.