[bookport] Re: Libraries Offering Audiobook Downloads

  • From: "Michael Hingson" <MHingson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bookport@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2005 14:11:00 -0700

You can play overdrive audio on your computer where you can rerecord it using 
even inexpensive tools such as Total Recorder.  When Overdrive books are 
downloaded they come in several parts.  A feature is included allowing the 
entire book to be played at one  sitting.  This means you can get a good 
recording of the entire book.  With total Recorder you can create MP3 files for 
the BookPort.

-----Original Message-----
From: bookport-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:bookport-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On 
Behalf Of mickey
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2005 12:02 PM
To: bookport@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bookport] Re: Libraries Offering Audiobook Downloads

You're right about Overdrive not being played on BookPort, but it can be used 
on the computer.
I tried etexts, which seem to be graphic only, and couldn't get anything from 
them on the computer. I haven't tried BookPort, but doubt if they will work.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Kramlinger, Keith G.,  <mailto:kramk@xxxxxxxx> M.D. 
To: 'bookport@xxxxxxxxxxxxx' 
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2005 2:21 PM
Subject: [bookport] Re: Libraries Offering Audiobook Downloads

Thanks, Neal.


Our local library offers this service but I haven't yet tried it.


My understanding is that Overdrive, the required software for this audiobook 
service, is Windows Media Player based. Given that Bookport doesn't (yet) work 
with WMA files, I'm guessing Bookport users will not be able to access 
audiobooks from this source. Can this be confirmed by anyone knowledgeable 
about this?


Also, our library offers ebook downloads in the Adobe Reader format. Can these 
be made accessible to Bookport?


Below is information for our local library site, in case that may help.


Digital books are the digital versions of print books, and include downloadable 
audio books for listening and eBooks for on-screen reading. Both digital audio 
books and eBooks can be used on a variety of devices such as PCs, laptops, and 
supported PDAs. This site offers digital audio books in the OverDrive Media 
Console(tm) format, and eBooks in the Adobe® Reader® format


To use OverDrive Media Console, you will need to have Windows Media Player (9 
Series or newer). OverDrive Media Console takes advantage of Windows Media 
Player support for burning audio books to CD and transferring files to 
supported portable devices. To  
<http://www.playsforsure.com/FindPortableDevices.aspx> review a complete and 
current list of supported portable devices, click here.


For the latest information on Adobe Reader, click here to  
<http://www.overdrive.com/partners/redirects.asp?product=adobereader> visit the 
Adobe Reader product page at Adobe.com.


Thanks for any help.



From: bookport-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:bookport-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Neal Ewers
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2005 10:27 AM
To: Bookport
Subject: [bookport] Libraries Offering Audiobook Downloads


Libraries Offering Audiobook Downloads

Associated Press

Aug 25, 2005 2:35 PM (ET)




GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (AP) - A new way to borrow audiobooks from the library

involves no CDs, no car trips, no fines and no risk of being shushed. 

Rather, public libraries from New York City to Alameda, Calif., are letting 

patrons download Tom Clancy techno-thrillers, Arabic tutorials and other

titles to which they can listen on their computers or portable music 

players - all without leaving home.

Librarians say such offerings help libraries stay relevant in the digital age.

Barbara Nichols Randall, director of the Guilderland Public Library in 

suburban Albany, said the library considered the needs of younger readers 

and those too busy to visit.

"This is a way for us to have library access 24/7," she said.

(AP) Visitors to the audiobook section of the Guilderland Public Library in 

Guilderland, N.Y., on...

Full Image

There's still one big hitch, though: The leading library services offer 

Windows-friendly audiobook files that can't be played on Apple Computer 

Inc. (AAPL)'s massively popular iPod player.

Vendors such as OverDrive Inc. and OCLC Online Computer Library Center 

Inc.'s NetLibrary have licensing deals with publishers and provide digital 

books using Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)'s Windows Media Audio format, which 

includes copyright protections designed to help audiobooks stand apart from 

the often lawless world of song swapping.

A patron with a valid library card visits a library Web site to borrow a

title for, say, three weeks. When the audiobook is due, the patron must 

renew it or find it automatically "returned" in a virtual sense: The file 

still sits on the patron's computer, but encryption makes it unplayable 

beyond the borrowing period.

"The patron doesn't have to do anything after the lending period," said 

Steve Potash, chief executive of OverDrive. "The file expires. It checks

itself back into the collection. There's no parts to lose. It's never 

damaged. It can never be late."

Potash said about 1,000 libraries have signed up for OverDrive's audiobook 

service since its debut late last year. NetLibrary, teaming up with 

Recorded Books, launched a similar service in January and counts 200 

library customers.

Libraries offering audiobook downloads range from large institutions in New 

York and Los Angeles to smaller ones for Cleveland, Ohio, Maricopa County, 

Ariz., North Little Rock, Ark. and Omaha, Neb. The Hawaii State Public 

Library System signed up earlier this month.

Guilderland pays NetLibrary about $6,000 a year for more than 850 titles. 

Randall considers that a good deal, noting that a single audiobook can cost 

the library up to $80 when bought on CD.

Under the NetLibrary program, Guilderland gets a set number of downloads

for all titles each year, and a single title can be borrowed by multiple

patrons simultaneously as long as the cap hasn't been reached. Downloads

over the cap cost extra. Patrons must provide their own audio players, 

although they may listen on their home computers if they do not have one.

Other libraries make different arrangements. OverDrive, for example, 

generally takes a more traditional approach. When a copy is checked out, no 

other patron may download it until the borrowing period ends.

It's still unclear what impact such services will have on audiobook 

download sales from companies such as Audible Inc. (ADBL), although one 

analyst suggested it could inspire more sales as patrons buy for keeps a

title they had borrowed.

"It's certainly smart for the publishers to do this," said Phil Leigh, a

senior analyst with Inside Digital Media.

Digital downloads are a part of a natural progression for libraries, which 

have evolved from lending books to cassettes and videotapes to CDs and 

DVDs. OverDrive recently launched a video download service for libraries.

Librarians say they had little interest in audiobook downloads just a few 

years ago, but they have since noticed what everyone else has: the ubiquity 

of people sporting earbuds on streets, buses and malls.

Nearly 28 million portable audio players were sold last year, according to 

In-Stat, a technology research company. With more than 21 million sold, the 

iPod remains the signature portable player. But it uses the Advanced Audio 

Coding format with FairPlay, its own digital rights management system and 

one incompatible with Windows' technology.

Just as the lack of a standard digital audio format has fragmented the 

music download market, it affects audiobooks.

Users of iPods can still listen to books purchased through sources such as 

audible.com or Apple's own iTunes Music Store, but the library services,

for now, are geared toward computers and devices that support Windows Media 

Audio files. OverDrive files can be burned to CDs and converted to iPod 

friendly formats, but NetLibrary's cannot.

Marge Gammon of NetLibrary said that despite iPod's cache, the company 

wanted a product that could be played on a range of devices. OverDrive's

Potash notes there's a growing market of portable audio players, some 

priced lower then $50 (Regular iPod models start at $299, though the Minis 

start at $199 and Shuffles at $99).

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said the company has no plans to change

its copy-protection formats and would not comment on the incompatibility issue.

Librarians say they have heard complaints from iPod users, but there's 

little they can do beyond waiting for the industry to sort out its differences.

One California library shunned the download services completely, largely

because of iPod's popularity. Instead, Newport Beach Public Library bought 

15 iPod Shuffles and loaded them up with audiobooks from iTunes to loan 

out. Patrons are liable for any loss or damage, though librarian Genesis

Hansen said there's been no problems so far.


On the Net:

OverDrive's library service:  <http://dlrinc.com/> http://dlrinc.com

NetLibrary:  <http://netlibrary.com/> http://netlibrary.com


Neal Ewers
Trace Research and Development Center
http://www.trace.wisc.edu <http://www.trace.wisc.edu/>  



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