There are free ebooks all over the Internet. Examples include Project Gutenberg and the classics available from the University of Virginia. Websites like these are great for out of copyright classics. There are many ebook websites including Amazon.com and ebooks.com where you can download new ebooks from bestsellers to textbooks for a fee. NetLibrary offers access to both out of copyright and new ebooks that are free to library customers who sign up for an account with their library cards from subscribing libraries. While NetLibrary offers audiobooks for downloading to libraries, the subscription that Ocean County Library gets through an arrangement with the NJ State Library only includes ebooks.
The new copyrighted titles available in NetLibrary depend on what each library choses so just as different libraries have different collections on their shelves, the NetLibrary collection from the State Library is different from a collection chosen by a library elsewhere. This collection tends to be heavy with business and computer titles.
Unlike the other electronic subscription databases, customers (and you) have to be inside a OCL location to sign up for an account. Once you have a free account you can use it anywhere but the first time you have to be inside one of our buildings using one of our computers (not a laptop using our wireless connection).
NetLibrary QuickStart Guide
1. Go to our list of subscription databases about Books and Reading. Click on NetLibrary and sign up for a NetLibrary account. Remember you have to be inside a library building when signing up.
2. Find a book inside NetLibrary either through browsing or a keyword search. Learn how to move around the chapters and pages. Don't know what to search for? Try a basic search term like BUSINESS or COMPUTERS.
3. Blog about NetLibrary. Was it easy to use? Could you show a customer how to use it?
Optional Advanced Exercises:
1. For a different ebook experience, explore the classic reference books on Bartleby.com including Respectfully Quoted, a great quotation book that was created by the Library of Congress. Even though this book was published in 1989, as a US government produced title it is free of copyright restrictions.
2. Visit Project Gutenberg and download a book to your computer. You can search for specific titles in a variety of ways or just browse the Top 100 Ebooks downloaded recently. If you're interested, you can subscribe to an RSS feed that will keep you informed as titles are added. Project Gutenberg has public domain audiobooks and digital sheetmusic, too. Hint: it is easy to find a downloaded file if you download it to the computer desktop but when you've completed this optional exercise, please delete the book from the computer. Too many unnecessary files on the desktop can slow a computer.