eBooks and eAudiobooks: What the Vendors Didn’t Tell Us

By Colleen B. Eggett

What should librarians teach their customers about the eBooks and eAudiobooks iphonethat they provide through various vendors such as OverDrive, OneClick Digital, 3M Cloud Library, Axis 360, and others?

I recommend that you teach

  • That you have the eBooks
  • The details of your library’s program:
    • How many items can be checked out at a time
    • How many holds can one have / no holds needed
    • How long is the checkout period
    • How they get in from your library. Does it take a library card #? An access code?
  • What’s included:
    • Genres/ types of books (Romance, Mystery, Biographies, Nonfiction, Children’s books, YA)
    • Software that’s needed (EX: Media Manager, Adobe Digital Editions)
  • Demonstrate how it works
    • Start at your own website
    • Download the media manager
    • Browse
    • Check out
    • Download
  • What help is available
  • Tips for success
  • Common Questions

The audience may be different for reading eBooks and listening to eAudiobooks


  • E-book readers may be younger readers, who need to physically read with their eyes for school
  • Also tech savvy people with an iPhone, Nook, Kindle, or iPad


  • Audiobook readers may be older and don’t want to use their eyes—the print is becoming small
  • They may be on the road a lot for work or play, or they live in rural areas and it’s all spread out

What you need to know:

  • If one person is logged into a computer then logs out, then another person logs in immediately after, they may get an error message: “unable to log into this account.” If so, use a different browser (EX: Firefox rather than IE, or Safari, etc.)
  • Make sure the last person’s browser isn’t still open on the computer
  • Turn the device off then on
  • Clear the cookies
  • Find answers to problems by looking on the vendors’ websites, emailing the support desk, Googling the question

What your public needs to know:

  • Don’t plug in your portable device to your computer until you’re ready to transfer. If it’s plugged in while you’re downloading you’ll get tripped up
  • Make sure your portable device is adequately charged to transfer. If you’re out of battery you’ll be unsuccessful
  • If something doesn’t download, your computer freezes, you run out of battery, you lose internet connection, or whatever, delete the part that got stuck and download that part again. Then download all the rest

How can we be successful in offering downloadable books?

  • Shift more of our budgets to buy more digital content. Library Journal reported in 2014 that eBook integration into the library world is just about complete, with nine in ten libraries now loaning eBooks.
  • James LaRue, former Director of the Douglas County Library in Colorado, said that in the next year, 20% of public libraries’ budgets will go to eBooks and audiobooks, and by 5 years from now, it will be 50%. From which budget will we shift funds? Reference and nonfiction are possibilities
  • Promote your eBooks and audiobooks
    • Talk, talk, talk
    • Make sure your staff knows about them
    • Get the word out on your website
    • Get the word out in your building. Put up:
      • A sign in your audiobook area
      • A banner outside your library
      • Signs / flyers at the your checkout area
      • Put it on your website
      • Marc records for the titles in your library catalog
    • Be proactive. If you’ not happy with your eBook or audiobook service, talk to the vendor. Your voice is important as the eBook industry evolves
    • Try something new and let people know how it worked: sharing knowledge is a library value