Friday, November 12, 2010


David Luinstra

For months I’ve been toying with the idea of taking the plunge and getting into the wonderful world of e-readers. I was intrigued by the idea of being able to carry around hundreds of books with me in my back pocket, being able to easily skip from chapter to chapter, and having less clutter (with apologies to any bibliophile I’ve offended by calling books clutter) in my house. The counterweight to all of these pros was a big con: the price. After all, why pay for a device when you can get books for free at your local Calgary Public Library branch?
Thankfully, this stalemate was broken when I won a Kobo at a staff function. I took it out of the box the very same night and after about 5 minutes of use, I was hooked. But unless I resigned myself to reading nothing but the 100 free classics that come with the device (according to Kobo, I’m now approximately 1% through War and Peace), I needed a convenient, reliable, and, most importantly, free source of books.
Although I knew about CPL’s Overdrive service, and have been actively promoting it to customers, I hadn’t used it to download content until now. I was pleased with how quickly and easily I could acquire material, and the lazy man in me loved the idea of instantly downloading books from my living room, in my pyjamas. Similar to traditional library service, CPL lends digital books for three week time periods, but unlike physical collections, they are automatically returned after the loan period is up. I was impressed with the selection of books, and with more and more people using e-readers, the amount of available titles will surely increase.
As a new convert to e-reading, I encourage anybody who has been contemplating “going digital” to give it a try, and once you’ve made the switch, check out Calgary Public Library’s Overdrive ebook and audio book service.

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