eBooks, electronic versions of printed books which can be read on computers and devices, have become very popular in recent years.
How many books do you think you’ll receive this year in your Christmas stocking?
Amongst the oranges, nuts and chocolate, your loved ones could probably squeeze in two or three of the latest paperback bestsellers.
But if you were to get an eBook reader instead, that could become a whole library of books in a sock hung over the mantelpiece!
For the last few years, eReaders such as the Nook, Kobo and Kindle, have become one of the most popular Christmas gifts, selling over a million during the festive season each year, as people enjoy the convenience of having all their favourite books available to read easily at anytime anywhere.
eBooks have increasingly become the reading method of choice for those of us growing older, whose eyesight might not be as good as it once was. With an eBook you can instantly change the look and print size of the book to one that makes reading comfortable for you.
You can often buy the eBook version of popular novels for much less than the paper copy would cost you and now you can also read a lot of your favourite books, in eBook form, for free.
This is because Lancashire County Council has invested in an eBook Library, available to all Library members in Lancashire, where you can borrow books for free, just as you always have from your traditional local library.
As well as lots of fiction and non-fiction eBooks, the Library also contains a selection of spoken word Audiobooks that you can listen to on your music player.
To see what we have available, just visit the Library at www.lancashire.gov.uk/ebooks. Here you can browse the Library and read, or listen to, samples before you borrow.
If you have your Lancashire Library card number and PIN handy, you can log in and start to borrow straightaway. You can then read your library eBook within the browser of any computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Your device will store a few chapters for uninterrupted reading if you happen to lose Wi-Fi or 3G connection, but if you are going to be without an internet connection for a long period (on a aeroplane flight, for example) or wish to read the book on an eReader, you will need to download the whole book to your computer first, but this only takes a matter of seconds.
If you want to download an eBook, or listen to an Audiobook, before you download anything you will need to install some software or ‘app’ on your computer or device. Available via the eBook Library this is safe and free and easy to install. Once you’ve got your software and registered it (also free, but you will need an email address to do this), you can then download eBooks and Audiobooks to read or transfer to eReaders and music players. Some Audiobooks can even be put onto CD, if this is more convenient for you. Unfortunately, due to licensing reasons, you can’t use library eBooks on Amazon Kindle eReaders, but they will work on all other popular brands (and you can still use them on Amazon Kindle HD and HDX, because these are tablet computers not eReaders).
You don’t have to be a computer expert to use this service, it’s really quite easy. Lancashire County Council’s library service has produced some handy step-by-step guides and staff are always available to help. You’ll find our guides on the internet at slidesha.re/ebookhow
With eBooks you will no longer need the old bus tickets, ten shilling notes or whatever else you used for bookmarks. With one click you can save your favourite places in a book. An eBook will also always automatically ‘remember’ where you left off and you can easily search a whole book for a word or phrase.
At present, you can borrow up to six books at a time (any mix of eBooks and Audio) and keep them for 7, 14 or 21 days (you decide before you borrow).
In the eBook Library, you’ll find a wide range of books including bestsellers and popular authors. There’s not as much choice as you’ll find in your library, bookshop or online retailers like Amazon. This is because there are still quite a few major publishers who haven’t yet agreed to let libraries lend their eBooks, but the Library is growing with new titles added daily.