Adding Public Library Content to your Kobo ebook Reader
This brief tutorial will show you how to add ebook content from your local public library to your Kobo ebook reader. I wanted to show this for two reason:
- I haven't seen this complete set of instructions anywhere else.
- To illustrate how cumbersome the process is, thereby demonstrating how DRM is hindering the proliferation of ebooks. (Imagine if mp3's were so locked down in 1999, no one would bother owning an iPod)
I'll be demonstrating with the St. Catharines Public Library Digtial Media Collection: http://overdrive.stcatharines.library.on.ca/. This platform is based on the Overdrive Media system. Since I just bought my Kobo, that'll be the ebook reader.
Install Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) - First things first, you should plugin the Kobo before attempting to install ADE. It won't authorize the device properly unless it is already there. Head to http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/ scroll down a bit and you'll see the 'Install' link.
Interesting bit of trivia: the application is an Adobe Air app and will install nicely with Wine for Ubuntu (link)
You'll need to accept the license and run through a setup wizard which will force you to create an account with Adobe.
Mmmm, soothing black background
Yet another web account to remember
Authorizing the Kobo through ADE - Before you can add any content to the ereader you need to have it authorized with the software. If you have plugged it in the usb before installation it should auto-detect it and prompt you to complete the process. After it is done you'll see the Kobo as an item in your Library.
It's Kobo Time Y'all
Finding and downloading the ebook content - Start by navigating to the library site, in our case: http://overdrive.stcatharineslibrary.on.ca Then find the e-book you want to read. Make sure the record has 'Adobe EPUB ebook' in the description. It is easy to begin searching and then end up looking at an audio book instead. Add the item to your cart, login, and then 'checkout'.
Find yer book
Add to cart, proceed to checkout, login with your library account
You get a choice of lending periods, but 14 days is the longest
After it is all done click 'Download' you'll end up with a .ascm file
Authorizing the ebook through ADE - Take the file you downloaded in the previous step and drag it into the main window of ADE. It will then automatically download the epub file associated with the 'key file' you gave it.
So Adobe is the gatekeeper to the actual document. The Library, Overdrive, and Kobo don't do content wrangling. You ask politely for a copy of the book with a rights file the library supplies and Adobe passes you the final book.
The acsm file won't do anything when you double click it. It's best to just drag and drop it. Then your book will download automagicially.
Transferring the book to the Kobo - Another instance of dragging and dropping. Drag the book from the right side of ADE over to your KOBOeReader icon. You'll see a quick progress bar zip by and finally, your book will be ready to go.
It happened so fast I couldn't get a screen cap of the transfer
Start reading - Close down ADE, eject your Kobo and after the sync process is completed head to your 'My Books' section. Navigate to your new book and bask in the glow of e-ink.
I can feel my tax dollars at work
Ebooks aren't books!?
The good thing about ebooks is that in some way they are just like books... they read nicely, they have illustrations if you're lucky, and generally make you smarter. However in some respects they are nothing like books and shouldn't be treated as such. For instance, an ebook can be in many places at one time (ie copied). So if I read SuperFeakonomics there is no reason why you can't be reading it at the same time as me. Yet for some reason eBook providers seem to try to parallel the analogy of the ebook to a physical book in ways that they shouldn't. I'm looking right at you NetLibrary! Here's what happens after I loaded the book:
I Just wanna get my SuperFreak on!
I get that this is a licensing thing but it seems to me like a very artificial constraint. There is no marginal cost to create another ebook, but I'm sure each additional license for more copies of the book gets super expensive.
The process all told
Most of the work with getting this going is the initial setup stage of getting Adobe Digital Editions downloaded, and authorizing the reader. You only need to do that once so I can't complain much about that. What I can complain about is the amount of hoops to jump through to read a book. I do commend content providers for not letting the epub file go the way of the mp3. However there is an emergent market forming, many pirates out there are starting to share ebooks...