This week “Ear” heard from Don, who asked, "Is the library pursuing ways to increase the selection of e-books, and perhaps a better way to download? If not, can you?" This is a timely question, since many patrons will be receiving e-readers as gifts very soon.
“Thanks, Don, for this great question! We are glad you have discovered the library’s downloadable collection at www.MyMediaMall.net, supplied by OverDrive. MyMediaMall is the name of the consortium we belong to with about 60 other Illinois libraries, which means that most of the titles in that collection, as well as new ones added monthly, are shared with all those libraries. This is one of the reasons that many of the titles you are looking for are checked out (when using this service, you are actually checking out a license to read the title file).
One way Cook Memorial Public Library is now making more e-books available to our patrons is by becoming “Advantage” members with a dedicated budget. That means that we are purchasing copies of e-books and e-audiobooks within MyMediaMall that are available only to our own library card holders. It is important to always sign in first when using the service, so that you will see all the titles available to you. More Advantage titles are added to the collection every month.
Some publishers put restrictions on how libraries can circulate their e-books and some, i.e. Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, won’t allow libraries to do so at all. These restrictions, along with budget, limit the number of titles we can purchase. Nonetheless, this nascent part of the e-book industry continues to improve and we are paying close attention to developments.
Downloading e-books to various compatible devices is a challenge for patrons and for library staff. Each publisher has its own negotiations about how e-books can be borrowed by library patrons, and that is why it is so much more complex than when you are buying your own e-books. The library profession en masse has communicated its point of view to both the vendor, OverDrive, and the publishing industry. That point of view is that there should be an easier and more standard procedure for downloading library circulating e-books and e-audiobooks.