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Competences: Week 2 - Ebooks

Week #2

Week #2 - Ebooks

Ebooks are electronic books, or books you can read on your computer or on handheld devices such as e-readers or smartphones. Believe it or not, the first ebook was made in 1971 - and they've come a long way in the last few years. While we circulate the Kindle, you will have questions about other readers and ebook applications. Here are a few facts you should know:

  1. Patrons cannot download books onto the first generation Nook in the library. The library's wireless network requires patrons to agree to a security policy before they can connect. Since the first generation Nook does not have an internet browser, they cannot authenticate and, therefore, cannot connect.
  2. Kindles DO have an internet browser. However, if a patron does not know how to get to the browser and cannot connect and authenticate, they also cannot download books. Once books are downloaded, they do not need an internet connection. IF they have the 3G Kindle, they are automatically on Amazon's Whispernet and do not need to connect in order to download.
  3. There are several sites to which you can direct patrons for free eBooks.
  4. Not all eBooks can be downloaded. Some, like NetLibrary, only allow for reading on a computer screen.

So...let's take a look at some eBook sites!


NetLibrary can be accessed through POWER Library. This can be a great resource for patrons, but also for staff members if they are looking for an answer to a question. There are many professional and technical books online that the library cannot afford to purchase. Explore NetLibrary and see what you think!

Google Books (

Google Books contains both a free book site and an eBook store. Google eBooks can be downloaded to nearly every platform (iPhone, Android, Nook, Sony eReader) except for the Kindle.

This is what a search for "library science" looks like. You will notice on the left side, there is the heading "Any Books." This is an important place to start in a search. You can select whether you just want a preview, if you want to purchase it from Google ebooks, or if you want to search just Free Google eBooks.

When you select a book, the screen will look something like this:

You can navigate through the book by clicking the forward and back buttons or search the book for a specific phrase. Some books can be downloaded as a .pdf file. If this is possible, you'll see an icon for this in the top right corner. Once downloaded, they can be viewed on other devices, like an iPhone.

Experiment with Google Books and try some searches.

Amazon (

Amazon sells the majority of eBooks. They are only Kindle compatible. In order for patrons to download from Amazon, they must have a username and password, as well as a OneClick purchasing selection that is linked to a credit card.

Open Library (

This site works must like Google Books, except the lend books. Account holders (it's free) can borrow up to 5 books at one time.

This is just the start! Read this article, "391 Places for Free Ebooks Online" by Gizmo's Freeware and explore some of the options!

Your Assignment

After exploring these sites, please comment here by telling us your experiences. Do you prefer one site over another? How would you use eBooks in your job? Which eBook site do you think is easiest to navigate?