eBooks @ The Library
What is an eBook?
eBooks are electronic versions of books. They can be downloaded from many websites
and their text can be displayed on a computer screen, on eBook readers and other
mobile devices like tablets or smart phones.
Downloadable Library eBooks
The library has partnered with a company called OverDrive to make free downloadable
eBooks available to members of Halifax Public Libraries. They can be “checked out” for
a limited time just like paper books but you’ll never get a fine because the books expire
automatically when your loan period ends! They just stop working on your
Publishers can’t afford to give books away for free, so they protect their copyright by
placing restrictions on the use and transfer of eBooks. By adding “Digital Rights
Management” (DRM) to the book, they prevent users from copying and saving the
books in ways that would violate copyright laws. Because of the DRM on library eBooks
you will need special software installed on your computer to use them and they may not
be compatible with all devices.
What You Will Need to Get Started
1. A valid Halifax Public Libraries library card:
2. A device (computer or hand-held gadget like an eReader, tablet or smart phone) that
is compatible with the library’s eBooks. Because of DRM not all devices are
compatible. For the most up to date information about which devices are compatible:
• Go to the library’s home page: www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca
• Click the “eBooks” button (right side of the page).
• Click the “Supported eBook Devices” link on the right side of
3. Some initial set-up.
The MyHelp section has detailed setup instructions for many different
Most hand-held devices used to read eBooks fall into one of two
categories: Tablets & Smart Phones (see section 3.1) or dedicated
eReaders (see section 3.2)
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Updated: February 2012
3.1 Initial Setup – Tablets and Smartphones
If you own an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), an Android tablet or
smartphone (Samsung, HTC or others), a Blackberry Playbook or smartphone or a
• Get an Adobe ID by going to www.adobe.com/membership and
creating an account.
• Go to your app store/market and install the free OverDrive app
• Open the app and “activate” it with your Adobe ID
Note: The Kindle and Kindle Fire tablet are not yet compatible with library eBooks in
3.2 Initial Setup - eReaders
If you own a dedicated eReader (Kobo, Nook and Sony Reader) you will need to set
up your own computer to get library books onto your device. Using your computer:
• Install your eReader’s software on your computer. (Consult the manual)
• Get an Adobe ID by going to www.adobe.com/membership and creating an
• Install Adobe Digital Editions
1. Click the eBooks button (right side of the
page) on the library’s home page.
2. Click the Adobe Digital Editions link in the
“Digital Software” box.
3. Click the Get Adobe Digital Editions button.
4. Scroll down and click the
Install/Launch button. Follow
the instructions on the screen until the “Setup
Assistant” window opens.
• Activate Adobe Digital Editions by entering your Adobe ID information into the
“Setup Assistant” box.
• Activate your eReader with your Adobe ID
• Connect the eReader to your computer
• Open Adobe Digital Editions (if it’s not already open). It should detect your
device and open a “Device Setup Assistant” window. Click Authorize
If you have a Sony Wifi:
If you own a Kobo Vox:
• Instructions: http://bit.ly/v8cSDQ | Video: http://youtu.be/EhTlbpwr5gc
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Which Device Should I Buy?
There are many options, and all have their pros and cons. We can’t recommend one
device over another because your choice will depend on how you plan to use it.
Popular Devices for Reading Library eBooks
Sony Reader Kobo & Nook iPad Android Blackberry
Kobo Vox iPhone Tablets & Playbook &
iPod Touch Phones Phones
Bookstore Sony Chapters Barnes & iBooks Google Books N/A
Set-up 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.1 3.1 3.1
eBook Apps N/A N/A N/A OverDrive OverDrive, OverDrive
NOTE: The Kindle, Kindle Fire are not yet compatible with library eBooks in Canada.
Reviews of eBook Readers
• ConsumerReports.org: The library has a subscription! Contact the reference
desk at 490-5710 if you need assistance viewing paid content.
o Report: http://bit.ly/b1O00T
• CNET eBook Readers: http://reviews.cnet.com/ebook-readers/
• Geek.com: This website has a frequently updated blog that covers product
reviews and updates from the world of eBooks and eReaders.http://bit.ly/9Ryx8U
• The eBook Reader: A site that reviews eReaders: www.the-ebook-reader.com
• Wired.com: Wired is a trusted source of information in the world of technology.
Go to www.wired.com Hover over “Reviews” and select “Tablets/eBooks” in the
box that pops up.
• Kim’s Essential Guide to eReaders and Free eBooks:
• eBook Reader YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/TheeBookReader
• Good eReader YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/goodereader
• OverDrive’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/DigitalBookDownloads
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Searching for Library eBooks Using a Computer
If you are using the OverDrive app, the steps are similar, but it will look a little different.
1. Go to the library’s home page: www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca
2. Click the eBooks button (right side of the page)
3. Click on the links in the left column to see ready-made
lists of eBooks by topic (to see more options click more),
4. Type a book title or keywords into the search box and click the blue arrow.
5. Click “Advanced” to customize or fine tune your search. You can use the “Only
show titles with copies available” checkbox to find books to download right away.
Using the Advanced Search you can see
lists of eBooks:
• in specific languages
• on a specific subject
• that have won awards
• that are still available (have not been
checked out by someone else).
• that are available for immediate
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Understanding Your Search Results
Your search results will be a list of books. Here is an example of the information you will
see for each book.
For more information about
a book click on its title
Click “Place a
“The Lust Lizard” is hold” to be
available in both added to the
ePub and PDF waiting list.
eBook file formats.
ePub works best
on most eReaders.
Click “add to
Cart” if you
want to check
Checking Out and Downloading an eBook Using a Computer
1. Click Add to Cart
2. Click Proceed to Checkout. (See image on next page) Note: You can click
Continue Browsing if you would like to add more items to your cart. Just be
sure to proceed to checkout within 60 minutes because books will only stay in
your cart for an hour.
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3. Type your library card number (with no spaces) in the box and click Sign In.
4. Select your desired lending period (1, 2 or 3 weeks) and click Confirm check
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5. Click Download
6. Click Open with (ensure “Adobe Digital Editions” is in the box beside it), then
7. Adobe Digital Editions will open automatically and start to download your eBook.
Wait a few moments.
8. You can now use Adobe Digital Editions to read eBooks on your computer, or
transfer them to your eReader.
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Reading eBooks on Your Computer
1. Double click on the Adobe Digital Editions icon (if it is not already open).
2. Click on the bookshelf icon to see all the books you have.
3. Double click on a jacket cover to open a specific book.
4. Use the links in the left column to jump to a section in the book
5. Use the up and down arrows to turn pages
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Transferring eBooks to eReaders
Plug your eReader in to your computer. Open Adobe Digital Editions. Click on the
bookshelf icon. Your eReader will appear as a line in the left column of the Adobe
Digital Editions window. Use your mouse to point at the eBook cover art, and then drag
and drop it onto the reader.
If you get an error message or can’t see/read the books that you transferred:
1. Is your eBook Reader compatible with OverDrive eBooks? See page 3 of this
handout, or for a more comprehensive list of compatible devices:
2. Did you activate Adobe Digital Editions with an Adobe ID after installing it on your
3. Did you activate your eReader using the same Adobe ID?
4. Are there too many books on your eReader? Has it run out of space?
Viewing Your Account
To see the books you have checked out, on hold or in your cart, click My Account.
account is separate
from your account
for other library
You will need to
login on the eBooks
page to see your
eBooks holds. To
see your book, CD
and DVD holds you
will still need to login
to the library’s
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1. Click “Help” for information on
2. Click the “Ask a
Librarian” button to
send us an email
3. Call your local branch
eBooks, eReaders and Your Privacy
The library protects your privacy when you download eBooks. Overdrive only has
access to your library card number, not your name or contact information. Follow these
links to read more about eBooks and privacy.
• “Digital Books and Your Rights”
• “E-book Buyer’s Guide to Privacy”
Other Sources of Free eBooks
Classics or older books that are no longer protected by copyright (in the “public
domain”) can be downloaded for free from various sites. The newest/most popular
books that are still copyrighted need to be purchased or borrowed from the library.
• Project Gutenberg: 30,000+ books, often available in multiple formats. This site
was one of the founding eBook sites and many newer sites build their collection
by downloading from Project Gutenberg or by linking back to Project Gutenberg.
How to video: http://youtu.be/DBRHh-pX2IY
• Google Books: Google has scanned thousands of books. Some are free.
• eBook3000: A great source for text books, technical works and magazines.
• Epubbooks: Mostly classic titles. www.epubbooks.com
• Wikibooks: A community site specializing in educational text books.
• Use the PDF Search Engine for searching 285 000 000 free eBooks from
around the world. http://www.pdf-search-engine.com
• Use Google’s filetype search to find free eBooks in pdf or epub format. For
example, type this into Google:
filetype:pdf “Anne of Green Gables”
This work is licensed under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 license. You may share and adapt it for
non-commercial use if the original is cited. (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca/)
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