Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Almost like magic... almost.

Hip-hip-hooray! Finally, ebooks are available for Kindle through Overdrive, which provides ebooks for the fantastic Chicago Public Library, of which I am a patron. I love my Kindle, and I love getting books delivered near-instantly, but instant gratification in my case also means instant credit card bills -- or something like that, I don't know. Anyway, I've spent way more than I ever meant to on Kindle books, and the prospect of getting my library books in Kindle form was super exciting, and now it's here!

The easiest way to find ebook is to search for them in the "downloadable media" section of the ChiPubLib website. They come up in the main catalog, too, but there's an extra click needed to send you from the library catalog to the Overdrive catalog. As you can see, there are limited numbers of digital copies, and you add the format you want to your "cart". After I checked out, the page now shows 1 copy available but you can still pick ePub or Kindle, so thankfully the publishers don't appear to be so dumb as to limit numbers of copies in each format.

Once you click "add to cart" you get the option of doing more browsing or continuing to the checkout, although the cart clears out after 30 minutes. To check out you log in with your card number and zip code, just like you do to place a hold on a physical book; no need for a special Overdrive password or anything. HOORAY.

I was really pleased with the amount of information you get at each step, including the lending period and limits. It's nice to have that kind of detail in front of you, especially when this is your first time dealing with this aspect of the library's services.

Once you've clicked "confirm check out", Overdrive's end of the business is pretty much done. You've now checked out the book and once you click "get for Kindle" you get thrown over to Amazon.

Wooo!! How exciting is this right?! At this point Amazon assures you that your notes and bookmarks in this book will be saved automatically, which I interpret as: even though we're going to snatch this book back the second it goes overdue, you'll be able to pick up where you left off when you check it back out. Awesome. But then I start to think, I don't remember ever setting up my Kindle for wifi...

And indeed, I haven't, because my old Kindle 2 apparently doesn't have wifi. Sad trombone.

Oh, this kind of kills me. Amazon updated the Kindle a matter of weeks after I bought mine (and they lowered the price too, IIRC), but I didn't mind (mostly) because I was so happy to have it that I was just glad to have had the extra couple of weeks with it. It's a pretty simple, stripped down device; I've always been pretty confident that Kindle 2 functions as well as Kindle 3 for the one thing I use it for. Plus, the semester was starting so even if I had waited like a responsible person until my first paycheck, I would have been too busy to read and wouldn't have wanted to buy even a newer cheaper model. And now I find that poor old Kindle -- Kindle Antiquior -- is apparently unable to cope with the newest and latest.

Ok, it's not that big a deal. I still got the book. I downloaded it and transferred it via USB, the way we used to do in the stone ages (I guess). So here it is, and you'll be hearing more about it soon enough, I'm sure:
I don't know why the books have to go over wifi (except that it costs Amazon less than over the data network, which is probably all it is). Does the fact that I had to download it over USB mean that it won't update/sync over the data connection? I hope not. I've been pretty good at reading and returning things within the loan period lately but that hasn't always been the case (see: the $10 overdue fee I racked up in the spring), and the prospect of having your place still marked seems too useful to want to miss out on.

All in all, I'm really pleased that Overdrive and thus the ChiPubLib is now serving up ebooks for the Kindle. Yes, it is officially now
The Future


  1. I tried to check something out so I could make fun of you and tell you you just didn't understand how to properly use the Kindle, but behold! It did not work. Which is weird, because I thought the Kindle with wi-fi was cheaper than the 3G one? So...hm.

    Anyway, it didn't work and I am properly chastened.

  2. Ha-HA! I'm NOT just an idiot!

    Back when you and I Kindlized, there was no choice between wifi and 3G; and the choice now is between wifi only or 3G+wifi.