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eBooks

If you have a local library, you may well be used to visiting and borrowing books from it. But, did you know that there are many titles available to borrow as digital works? All you need is your library card, and a little app called Overdrive Media Console.

As well as borrowing written works, you can also borrow audiobooks, just as you would in person. The main difference is that with digital borrowing the digital title will check itself back in automatically and there are never any late fees.

So, grab your library card and follow us through a little walk-through of Overdrive Media Console.

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I love books. As Elizabeth Scott once famously quipped, “I like that the moment you open one and sink into it you can escape from the world, into a story that’s way more interesting than yours will ever be.” Books are my best friends; they keep me entertained and encouraged. Whenever I feel depressed or need a shoulder to lean on, I turn back to a book, be it Jonathan Livingston Seagull or Goblet of Fire. iPad has evolved into a powerful, mobile library over the years, thanks in large to iBooks.

I can’t imagine how I’d survive my long and tedious ride to my office without my iPad, but the problem is finding the right book. We often rely on critics like the New York Times, who heavily rely on sales numbers to measure a book’s quality, to find our next book. But, more often than not, we walk away disappointed. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to listen to your like-minded friends rather than a complete stranger? That’s what GoodReads is all about. (more…)

Around 1440, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. The printed word was a rare and valuable commodity in his world, and few people could read the few books there were. Books were painstakingly copied by hand, and represented years of work in making each volume. Now, in a day, Gutenberg could print more than you could write by hand in a year.

Fast forward 440 years. The motion picture was just becoming a reality, before most people had even had their own photograph taken. Before long, the world’s favorite pastime took us away from books, keeping us instead glued to our screens. First movies, then broadcast TV, and now iTunes rentals on your iPad, all bringing the magic of videos into more of our lives.

Last year, Steve Jobs announced the iPad as the eBook reader that would stand on the shoulders of the Kindle, and push eBooks to the next level. While both iBooks and the Kindle apps have made reading a great experience on the iPad, most eBooks to date are either plain text without even the formatting we’d expect from a paper book, or huge image or PDF files that don’t scale well. Neither make the book substantially better than it has been for centuries.

Then Moonbot Studios came, and showed the world how the future of books and movies had changed.

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The electronic book. Fantasized about for decades by sci-fi authors and readers alike, yet one of the last analog mediums to enter the digital realm. Why is that?

What is it about a book that makes it so difficult to translate the experience into a digital medium?

I think it has to do with the way we define a book, and how broad that definition really is. The problem is that we’re looking for one solution to the digital book problem, one answer that packages our bookshelves into bits and bytes. The ePUB standard has been proposed as that answer. But it isn’t the complete answer, and I’m not sure it ever can be.

The things we today call books have fundamental differences that can’t be reconciled by any one standard that’s currently been proposed. Why is that? What’s missing? And how can we fix it?

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