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The Book Lover's Gadget

by Shannon C - 1 Comment(s)

The holidays must be coming, because the number of questions we're receiving about eBooks and eReaders is shooting sky-high! With new models on the market at lower-than-ever prices, eReaders and tablets are the go-to gift for book lovers on your list. If you are planning on buying an eReader or tablet for a lucky friend or family member (or for yourself!) take your time, and do some research into all your options. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about eBooks at the library.

Can I borrow eBooks from the Library? 

Yes! We have thousands of eBooks in our OverDrive and Freading collections and we’re adding more every day. You can borrow them 24/7, with a valid Calgary Public Library card. The eBooks will return themselves automatically, so you’ll never have to worry about late fees.

Which devices can I use to borrow Library ebooks? 

Our eBooks work with a variety of today’s popular devices, such as:


Kobo GloKobo Glo

  • Kobo Glo, Mini, Touch
  • Sony Reader WiFi, Touch
  • Barnes and Noble Nook


  • Kobo Vox and Arc
  • Blackberry Playbook
  • iPad, iPad Mini, iPod Touch
  • Microsoft Surface           
  • Barnes and Noble Nook
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • Google Nexus
  • Sony WiFi-PRS-T1
  • Kindle Fire

List of devices that are compatible and incompatible with OverDrive (some of the newer devices aren’t listed here yet).

While Amazon has not made older Kindle eReaders compatible with OverDrive in Canadian libraries, you can use the Kindle Fire with OverDrive in Canada, by downloading the OverDrive Media Console app to your device. The Kindle Fire works with Freading also, with a few extra steps.

If you can cope with the teeny, tiny screen you can use your iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows smartphone to borrow eBooks. You can also use your computer or netbook.

Which eReader or tablet should I buy?

There are lots of choices this holiday season and a few things you should consider when you make your purchase:

  • Cost:  If you’re buying an eReader you can expect to pay between $80 to $300, while tablets will cost you more: from $200 to $850 depending on storage size and connectivity.
  • Weight: eReaders are lighter than tablets – the Kobo Mini weighs in at 134 grams, while the Apple iPad weighs 1.44 pounds. Try a friend’s if you can, or at the store, and see what feels most comfortable to you.
  • Screen Size: The Kobo Mini measures only 5 inches while tablets like the Apple’s iPad are double that at 10 inches – and closer to the size of a magazine, or hard cover book.
  • Screen type: Tablets have LCD screens and are back-lit, emitting their own light, but the print can be less sharp. EReaders have e-ink (electronic ink) screens that reduce glare and reflections in bright-light conditions, but rely on reflected ambient light to light up the screen. Some of the newer eReaders now offer lit screens.
  • Functionality: If you want to be able to surf the Internet in addition to reading eBooks you’ll want to buy a tablet computer. (And you’ll have to access a wi-fi connection or pay every month for access to a network). With tablets you can also take pictures and video.
  • Battery Life: Tablets use a lot more energy than eReaders do, due to their screen type and processing power, and need frequent charging with high-use. EReaders on the other hand can go for weeks without charging.

We have Consumer Reports in print at all our locations and you can access it online through the MasterFILE Premier database in our E-Library (have your library card ready)!

iPadiPad with retina display

Check out these articles online for more information:

The eBook Reader Comparison Tables
Consumer Reports eBook Readers Buying Guide article

How can I learn about borrowing eBooks from the Library?

Check out our Getting Started information for OverDrive and for Freading online.

We also offer two great programs on getting started with eBooks at the Library:

  • eBooks: A Library on the Go
    Library staff demonstrate how to download an eBook using OverDrive, and answer your questions.
  • The eBook Doctor
    Drop in for one-on-one help with your eBook and E-Reader questions and learn how to use OverDrive and Freading.

Current eBook programs (Check back on Monday, December 18th for our 2013 programs -- they will fill up fast!)

What do I do if I need more help?

Call us at 403-260-2600 and our staff will be happy to help!  Or, if you have technical questions about OverDrive you can email them using this form.



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by Chris Barry

Yay - Kindle Fire

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