Ottawa Public Library introduces ‘express’ ebooks for speed readers

From The Ottawa Citizen:

The Ottawa Public Library is encouraging speed reading with a new “express” ebooks system, the first of its kind at a Canadian public library.

Starting Wednesday, customers can borrow new and bestselling English-language ebooks for a loan period of seven days. The express system, previously only available for print books, now includes fiction and non-fiction ebooks.

“With a shorter loan period and a no-holds policy, express items help OPL optimize its collection, catering to fast readers,” a press release states.

The OPL’s website notes: “Ottawa Public Library eBooks get returned automatically once the loan period is finished so there will never be any late fees.”

Link to the rest at The Ottawa Citizen and thanks to Tudor for the tip.

2 thoughts on “Ottawa Public Library introduces ‘express’ ebooks for speed readers”

  1. Great, I live in Ottawa, and I can now get my local news from PG 🙂

    I use the library system, and I have to say, it’s pretty dang good. It’s not quite as seamless as the integration between Amazon and Kindle, but if you’ve bought from any other site where you had to DL the file first, it’s on par with any of them. So much so that I’m going to give quick overview for those who may or may not have the same thing locally.

    The system, like most libraries I think, uses Overdrive. You log in with your library card (not very secure, I must say, as the passwords are simply your phone numbers and most people don’t change it; but they’re not photo IDs, so anyone could sign out paper books if they had your card anyway), and can browse the catalog on your phone, PC, tablet, whatever. Like any catalog, you can do author search, keyword, etc. You can filter by ebooks if you want.

    You choose the ebook you want, and you can even add a “reservation hold” if someone else has it out (negating the erroneous belief that some people have that they loan the same file out many times at once, which they don’t — the librarians honour their license), and they put you on a waiting list. When it’s your turn, you get an email to sign it out if you want, and you have 4 days to claim it or your “hold” expires.

    Once you go to check it out, it registers it to you and you can see it online or mobile or DL it to your PC and open it in Overdrive. FYI, the software and transfers are pretty simple, far better than it was about 5 years ago when even I as a relatively technically-literate user struggled to get it to work properly. I have Overdrive on my phone and my PC. However, it can also DL to your PC, which means any other program (cough, cough, Calibre) will also open it and let you transfer it easily to your Kindle, Kobo, other e-reader, etc., which the Overdrive app is not great at doing.

    When you’re done, you tell Overdrive to “return” the book and it will return it to the library, mark it as returned, and release it to the next person. If you don’t, access will expire in 21 days.

    Technically, the change for the article is the second sentence in para 2 which is that the “express” option now applies to ebooks too. They have always had an express setting for the latest hot books — 7 day loans instead of 21. Which prevents everyone from signing out all the latest and you’d be 75th to get ANYTHING; this way there is always SOME selection available of something.

    They don’t however truly address the issue with loans “auto-returning” which is that while it avoids late fees, it also means there’s no “incentive” or reason for someone to return an ebook once borrowed. So, assuming you’re in the 7 day zone, and you read it the first couple of days like over a weekend, it will likely still sit in your account until the week is up before it auto-returns. Equally, I’ve been the next one on the “hold” lists where it was signed out and I’ve almost always had to wait the full three weeks. People just don’t bother returning when they’re done reading.

    Yet the system is almost as frictionless as Amazon. I can find stuff easily, it integrates with Overdrive if you’re willing to use that app, and when your time is up, it’ll return it for you. Plus it emails me when the file is available for ME when I put a hold on it.

    You can create wish lists for later reading, there’s a dashboard, you can upload reviews, it’s pretty sweet. They have six sub-catalogs just for ebooks:

    a. Express (7 day) loans, no reservations…Chaos, new Scarpetta novel from November was available for immediate DL and borrowing;
    b. Overdrive General;
    c. French ebooks;
    d. Read-along books for older kids (accessibility);
    e. Read-along books for younger kids (some accessibility, some simply junior books);
    f. Enhanced-ebooks with video, etc.;

    The library also has access to Zinio (a competitor to Texture) for magazines; there are journals, newspapers, audio books, etc.

    Quite an impressive collection.


  2. Totally with you Paul – and hey, hi! – nice to know there’s another PG follower in the city.

    Here are just three of my most recent reasons to adore the OPL (Ottawa Public Library):

    1) I mostly read series, and when I finish my book, I can get the next one with a couple of clicks (without having to go outside and shovel my driveway).

    2) The other day my son came home and had to read two chapters of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas for homework, but had left his book at school. Click, click, TBitSP was on my Kindle and he did his reading.

    3) None of us – ever – have library fines anymore! Never.

    Love our library …

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