The eBook Problem – Solved?!?

This semester I have been interning at Brooklyn Public Library and the bulk of my work has been researching and figuring out the “eBook Problem” in libraries. More details about that and my internship are upcoming, but I just couldn’t let another day go without sharing this recent discovery.

I’m a Mac user through and through. And it frustrated me to no end that I got this radical iPad to read eBooks and yet I couldn’t check any out from the library because of DRM issues between all the publishers and eReader companies. This is an issue that is being discussed all around the library blogosphere, and will continue to be until a common filetype is agreed upon AND utilized across the board. In the meantime, worry no more. Enter Bluefire Reader.

*Note – Only Adobe EPUB and PDF files work with this App.

1.      Download Adobe Digital editions. This program allows you to open the digital eBook file that you will download from your Public Library’s catalog. You’ll need to set up an Adobe ID in order to use this program.

2.      Download the Bluefire Reader App from iTunes App Store on your device. After opening it, add the same Adobe ID you set up for Adobe Digital Editions.

3.      Go to the digital catalog of your library (hopefully they have one!), search for an EPUB or PDF eBook you’d like to checkout.

4.      Once you have entered your library card number and pin, click “Download” to get the eBook file on your computer.

5.      Open the .ascm file with Adobe Digital Editions.

6.      Connect your Apple device to your computer and open iTunes.

7.      With the device selected in the left, go to “Apps” along the top.

8.      Scroll down until you see the File Sharing panel. Under Documents click “Add” then navigate to where the eBook file was saved (most likely in your-home-directory/Documents/Digital Editions) and select the file(s) to add.

9.      Enjoy an eBook on your Apple device!

The same instructions in different levels of detail from Bluefire Reader are here, and from NYPL here.

I have spent the greater part of 3 months stressing about how complicated eBooks are for libraries, and trying to whip together a How-To guide to help patrons figure it out, when what I should have been doing is developing this App. Kudos team Bluefire.

Analysis from Audrey Watters over at ReadWriteWeb, Matthew Miller from ZDnet and Josh Hadro at Library Journal Insider.

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