eBook borrowing during the pandemic

Escape the stress of COVID with books

Libraries are working hard to restore their facilities back to safe and secure use, but there is reluctance among some of the public to return to bricks and mortar facilities too soon. Considering these stressful times, and to assist book borrowers with their needs, we compare some of the electronic tools available to readers who are apprehensive about entering library buildings at this time.

Electronic books (eBooks) are digitized or electronically created books which can be read on an eReader, computer, phone or tablet. Readers can purchase eBooks for personal use or, with a valid library card, readers may borrow eBooks from libraries, just as they would borrow a hard copy. The advantage of eBooks over hard copy library books is that you do not have to physically enter a library building – you simply use an eReader, computer, phone or tablet to access a library’s catalogue and borrow the title you want.

Book returning is even easier. When the loan period is over, the eBook is automatically returned to the library. Wonderful for those of us who are forgetful about such things.

eBook devices
Kindle is a well-known eReader on which readers can purchase eBooks to own. Book stores and booksellers frequently offer eBooks to individual consumers at lower prices compared to hard copy prints. Kindle is an arguably good choice for book clubs if your members are willing to purchase books. If, however, a reader wishes to borrow eBooks from a Canadian library, you may find that your Kindle will not work. Canadian privacy laws, upheld by public libraries, make Kindle incompatible with many Canadian eBook-borrowing services.

Kobo is another well-known eReader, offered through Indigo/Chapters, on which readers can purchase eBooks, or borrow them from their local Canadian public library.

Major eBook-borrowing services
There are THREE major eBook-borrowing services offered through Pickering Public Library and many other public libraries: OVERDRIVE/LIBBY, HOOPLA, CLOUDLIBRARY.

Readers wishing to use any of these services must have a valid library card. Many public libraries have made it easy to obtain a library card online during the COVID pandemic. Residents of Durham region are eligible to obtain a library card from each City in the region. This can be of benefit as each City curates different content through their eBook-borrowing services – an eBook title that is unavailable through Oshawa Public Library, for example, might be available through Pickering. If you are a traveller in the USA, explore the possibility of getting a library card from a large American library system as their libraries may also give you access to a different range of titles.

So, which service is best?
Borrowing for yourself only? Keep your eBook borrowing life simple. Join 2 services using your library card: OVERDRIVE/LIBBY and CLOUDLIBRARY. Each service has very extensive borrowing catalogues and will yield broad and excellent results.

Borrowing books as a book club member with the need for multiple members to borrow the same title at the same time? HOOPLA best fills this need.

Bottom line
Joining three services – HOOPLA, CLOUDLIBRARY, and OVERDRIVE/LIBBY – should cover all your eBook borrowing needs, whether for yourself or as a member of a book club.

For personal borrowing: OVERDRIVE/LIBBY and/or CLOUDLIBRARY

For book club member borrowing: HOOPLA

Support your local library
Your local brick and mortar library is still the best place for assistance, support, and information about book borrowing. Pickering Public Library offers email assistance through help@picnet.org, phone assistance by calling 905-831-6265 and virtual chat assistance at www.picnet.org. Should you be comfortable visiting the library, staff are available during open hours to provide assistance and answer your questions about eBook borrowing.

For more information from the Pickering Public Library:  DETAILS

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