Project Gutenberg to Dropbox

Gutenberg Dropbox

In the past I’ve given you tips on how to get Project Gutenberg MARC records in to your ILS. Now I can tell you how to download ebooks directly to your Dropbox account so that you can access them on all of your devices.

The Gutenberg website has recently added support for Dropbox meaning you can download ebooks directly to your Dropbox account in the cloud. Once you authorize access, it will create a new “gutenberg” folder in your Dropbox and the ebooks will get saved directly in that folder.

More here.

Gifting Kindle Books


I’ve been a Nook user until I switched to my Nexus 7. Now I can read Nook or Kindle books. I’ve updated my Amazon wishlist for Christmas, but was wondering how my friends and/or family would be able to buy me kindle books so I did a little research. For those of you who are new to the giving and receiving of ebook gifts, this guide might be helpful. Basically it boils down to this:

To gift a Kindle book, click the Give as a Gift button located under the Buy button on Kindle Store product detail pages. You can also gift Kindle books through your recipient’s Amazon Wishlist.

Make sure you share this resource with your patrons, friends and family!

CA Law to Produce Open Source Textbooks

Open Source Logo

This from Ars Technica: Two bills were signed in to law in California recently. One to create the textbooks and the other to establish a California Digital Open Source Library to host them.

According to a legislative summary, the textbook bill would “require the California Open Education Resources Council to determine a list of 50 lower division courses in the public postsecondary segments for which high-quality, affordable, digital open source textbooks and related materials would be developed or acquired.” The council is to solicit bids to produce these textbooks in 2013. The bill makes clear that the council has the option to use “existing high-quality digital open source textbooks and related materials” if those materials fit the requirements.

Do Ebooks Need Cover Images?

Practical Open Source Software for Libraries

There was an interesting article on NPR about the art of cover images and the new world of eBooks. Chip Kidd, an associate art director at publisher Alfred A. Knopf, gave a talk about the art of cover image design.

Still, as Kidd tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer, all books — electronic, hardcover or paperback — need covers.

“They need some kind of visual representation, whether you’re going to be seeing them the size of a postage stamp on a computer screen or a smartphone, or sitting on a table, or on a shelf, or in a bookstore,” he says.

But goes on to say:

“People don’t buy a book on the Web because of the cover,” Kidd says. “They’ll buy a book on the Web because they’ve read a review or it’s word of mouth or some combination of the two.”

I agree with the above points, but I’d like to add that even when it comes to ebooks, I do still browse popular titles or titles like the one I’m reading and am drawn to specific cover images over others – so I hope that cover images stay a part of books forever and ever!

Ads in Ebooks


This article on Engadget talks about Microsoft’s patent to put ads in Ebooks:

We have ad-supported e-reading today, but the ads always sit on the periphery at most. That makes us more than slightly nervous about a newly-granted Microsoft patent for contextual e-book ads. The development would make the pitch based on not just targeted pages but the nature of the book in question: a sci-fi novel might try to sell lightsabers, and characters themselves might slip into the ads themselves if there’s a fit. Promos could be either generated on the spot or remain static.

What it doesn’t say is if these ads will appear in free books or books that we pay for. If I have to stop every few pages while reading an ebook that I paid for then I’m going back to print books only!

Get more open access books

Back in March I attended Computers in Libraries and at one of the social events I learned about a new site to try and get more books released as open access – that project is called is a a place for individuals and institutions to join together to give their favorite ebooks to the world. We work with rights holders to decide on fair compensation for releasing a free, legal edition of their already-published books, under Creative Commons licensing. Then everyone pledges toward that sum. When the threshold is reached (and not before), we collect the pledged funds and we pay the rights holders. They issue an unglued digital edition; you’re free to read and share it, with everyone, on the device of your choice, worldwide.

I loved the idea so much I signed right up and started telling all of my friends. Today I realized that I never told all of you!! So, if you haven’t already, please check out and if you’re a publisher or author, maybe consider helping unglue one of your own works.

On a related note, is having an issue right now with Amazon cutting off their access to the crowdfunding platform. This blog thread explains it all and asks for help and ideas if you have any to share.

Import Free Ebook Records to your Catalog


A couple years ago I brought a private project that shared Project Gutenberg records to your attention. Well, yesterday I thought I would go out and see if they had any more records to share so I could put them in to my Koha ILS demo site and found something awesome! Project Gutenberg has their own MARC exports (and other formats as well) that you can grab with over 40,000 records!!

If you’re using Koha, and want item records associated with these free MARC records take the file provided by Project Gutenberg and load it in to MarcEdit. Add a 942$c with your ebook type and then add a 952 with your branch and item type info. I did a tutorial video on this a while back that might help you. That’s what I did and now I have these titles in my catalog and searchable!

Learn more about the Koha item record in the 3.8 manual and get your own batch of free ebook MARC records at the Project Gutenberg wiki.

Ebook Trends: Info Pros Perspectives

Andy Woodworth was up first in the Ebook Trends talk. Andy’s talk was super fast and super awesome. I do hope that he shares his talk with us all so you can read that instead of my shortened summary.

Andy started by summing up his opinion of the current Ebook frontier as “Everything is amazing and no one is happy” He summed up all of the technology changes that have happened in our lifetime and that we take for granted.

What could possible be wrong with a product you don’t have to pay to print, don’t have to use gas to deliver and everyone from 4 to 400 can easily use?? Andy (appropriately) yelled the answer – EVERYTHING! Many publishers will not let libraries to lend they ebook content to start. It’s not that publishers don’t want library money, it’s that publishers do not trust our customers. While we try to uphold the policies of copyright, we can’t guarantee that our patrons will be honorable. The publisher things that they can then steal all of this content.

It all comes down to a problem with sharing! Not that we don’t share everything else everywhere else already. This is the horror that comes from breeding technology and culture together.

People are not waiting for libraries to solve the ebook lending problem – they’re coming up with their own ways to do it. We need to trust our users, we need to facilitate sharing. Every item that’s shared through your service is a book in a hand of someone who would otherwise be holding a competitors product.

Sarah Houghton was up next. Sarah started with some gratuitous cursing. Then we moved on to Sarah’s grandmother. She used to tell several lies to her grandchildren

  • Eat your crust it makes your hair curly
  • Only loose women get tattoos
  • Santa’s watching you

She had a tell whenever she lied – all the grandkids knew when she was lying because of the tells. Which brings us to some other lies that we’re being told:

Lies that library ebook vendors told you:

  • We’re broke:
    How many of you have indoor basketball courts in your library? Overdrive does.
  • 300% is as bad as it’s gonna get:
    It’s going to get worse before it gets better. It has to be so bad that the public starts to roar. If gas prices went up 300% there would be riots in the street
  • The publishers are forcing us to prevent you from owning these.
    Sarah has talked to the publishers – they actually don’t care.

There are lies that publishers tell us:

  • Libraries cost us money/steal our profits
  • Without digital rights management chaos will reign and no one will write anymore. (audience comment -we’re not doing it for the money)
  • Our business model has worked for hundreds of years and will work for hundreds more.
    It’s a failing business model.

We’re not without blame – lies we tell ourselves in libraries:

  • Everyone reads ebooks
    If you look at your circa stats you’re probably around 5-10%
  • We read our contracts and we negotiate hard
    “You don’t read your contract – most of you don’t.” Sarah says you need to learn to negotiate – take classes and learn legalese
  • Without ebooks our libraries will die
    We’re about communities and so much more than ebooks

Last up was Michael Porter (slides are on his site and slideshare). He started by asking us to think about what those before him said and what we all think. What used to make libraries work doesn’t make libraries work anymore. Michael feels that in the next 10 years the majority of content accessed in the library will be econtent not print materials. More and more people are using digital content already – we don’t buy as many CDs or DVDs anymore. I think that if we’re going to compete we have to find new solutions because what we have are broken.

“Libraries = Content + Community”

What we’re using now to facilitate the delivery of electronic content is broken. The current methods are very expensive, very inefficient and very unsustainable. We need something new and innovative.

Michael is here to represent a non profit (Library Renewal) made up of libraries who are trying to facilitate this change. He said it started with a question – what if we realized that we actually have control?

So Library Renewal is an organization that works on behalf of libraries to deal with the publishers. Right now we have vendors going in to secret meetings with the publishers to negotiate costs that benefit them – not us. And they are inviting libraries to come to Library Renewal and take back the control.

For the last 1.5 years they have been doing a lot of research at Library Renewal so they’ve been pretty quiet. They have been negotiating and building partnerships and developing solutions. At this point they are seeking funding to build the infrastructure.

The bottom line is that the system Library Renewal proposes will allow for more money for the rights holder and publishers and a huge savings for libraries.

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Ebook Rant

My husband and I chose the Nook color as our ebook reader last year. Let me start by saying that we love them! I do however have two policy issues to complain about (and I’m pretty sure that these are not Nook or Barnes & Noble specific).

This weekend my husband and I went on vacation. We took nothing but our Nooks with us and spent the weekend on the beach, by the pool, and in the air conditioning reading. My husband turned me on to Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. He had started reading it before we go our Nooks so he read the first 6 books in print and I decided to buy them on the Nook. I finished the first book in our first day away and logged in to my account immediately to buy the next book. Instead of the book downloading right away like it had with other purchases in the past it gave me a series of errors about how an error occurred. I spent the rest of the day nagging my husband to talk to me since I didn’t have anything to read ;)

When I logged in to my email (on the Nook) later that day I found an email from B&N telling me that because I was out of the country I couldn’t purchase books. I understand copyright laws, but it’s a US bought Nook, it’s a US address on my US credit card and I was on vacation!! Isn’t technology smart enough to know that the device was bought in the US and that my address is in the US and that my credit card payments are sent to the US? So I had to send an email to a cousin back home and ask him to buy me some books so I had more to read on vacation.

The lesson here is that you need to fill up your ebook reader before you leave the country!

Next rant …

As I mentioned, my husband read the first 6 books in print, but after that he bought the ebooks for the rest of the series. Silly us assumed that we could use the ‘Lend Me’ feature on our Nook for him to lend me the rest of the series after I bought the first 6 … well we were wrong. For some reason the Dresden books do not have the ‘Lend Me’ feature available. Now, I’m at a loss. What do I do? Do I pay double (buy another copy for the household) because of the limitations? Do I borrow his Nook while I’m reading those books? Do I go to the library and see if I can borrow the ebook there? Why should I have to make these choices? We have a shared bank account and as such I have already paid for these books, but I can’t read them! This is a complaint I’ve had about computer games in the past as well … why is it that with all the technology we have we can’t come up with a way to share technology in a household?

How are other families handling situations like this? What do you do if your entire family likes a specific author or series?