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If your library lends eBooks through Overdrive, then this is a simple project you can set up in about a day.
Take a look at this page, http://www.pbclibrary.org/classic-ebooks.htm
Classic eBooks to Download
(Not just for) Homework Downloads
What if you need to read a book for school, but all the copies are checked out? If it's a "classic work of literature" (meaning "old") book and you have your smart phone, you may be able to download it and read it on your phone right now. The black and white images below are special codes, called QR codes, that link to eBooks you can read on your phone or tablet computer.
But you'll need a few things to use the codes: your phone, the Overdrive Media Console software and a QR code reader.
If you don't already have it, you can download the Overdrive Media Console from here: Overdrive Media Console. Install it on the phone or portable device you'll use to read the eBook.
If you don't have a QR Code reader on your phone, you can download one from the iTunes App Store, Android Market, Windows Marketplace or BlackBerry App World depending on your phone.
Once you install the code reader, you can open the app and use your phone's camera to scan the code for the book you want. And when the book downloads, it will be yours to keep, for free!
And if you don't have a smart phone or app-enabled device, you can still click on the code and download the book to your computer.
The collection of texts on this page was chosen from the most popular downloads and from popular selections from student reading lists. If you want to browse through over 34,000 free texts available for downloading, click here.
This is the project. It's a simple web page filled with QR codes that link to "always available" Overdrive-slash-Gutenberg texts. The codes are generated through goo.gl (Google) in a account created to monitor the use of the codes.
If you use Project Gutenberg, then you know that each item includes a QR code for easy downloading to a mobile device. And if you want, you can create a page by simply linking to those codes without creating your own. But since we get circulation statistics from our Overdrive downloads, we chose to create our own codes that link to our Overdrive Digital Media Collection, http://palmbeach.lib.overdrive.com/.
We chose a theme of "homework help" for our list of downloadable classics and researched the most popular titles from local school reading lists and the Top 100 from Gutenberg and chose 40 titles that were available from Overdrive. But you can use any theme.
Then we copied the link from the Overdrive version of the book and shortened the URL at our goo.gl account to create the QR code. The original URL for the eBook looks like this, http://service.overdrive.com/GUTENBERG/ebooks/palmbeach/epub/514 , while the shortened version looks like this, goo.gl/JY7Gt.
Now, in addition to our monthly statistics we get from Overdrive for each downloaded classic eBook, we can also view statistics at our Google account to see how the codes are being scanned. We can see simple counts for each day, week, month, all time, and also view whether the device is running on an iPad, iPhone, Windows or Linux (etc.) platform.
Future plans for the project include adding QR Codes to "dummy" books that would be placed on the shelves next to our classic paperbacks. If someone wanted a copy of Jane Eyre but they were all checked out for a school assignment, then the student could still scan the code right there in the stacks and get a copy of the book on her phone or tablet. And we plan to advertise the downloads to the local schools.
We also hope to work with other local agencies to get the QR code for the classic eBooks page displayed in high-traffic public areas, such as the local airport. Travelers could download a book while they wait for their flight. And we have a very large code ready the poster in the event that works out:
And any location that offers free wi-fi could also become a partner in this project. But wi-fi isn't really necessary as most eBook files are very small; it's only the Overdrive software download that might use a little bandwidth.
The preparation for selecting the initial title list took the most time on this project, but once that was done, everything else was just simple copy & paste to create the codes and the web page.
We hope this project gets a chance to expand to more than just the web page, but for right now, this is a quick, simple project any library can do to promote and connect their eBooks to their mobile users.