Ebrary’s new app: a test drive

| August 30, 2012

In searching for a book to read on my hour-long train ride back to Brooklyn, I discovered via Educat that one of the titles from my to-read list was available as an ebook in Ebrary, the vendor we purchase the majority of our electronic titles from. Ebrary books make up 71% of our total ebooks and about 11% of Gottesman’s total collection. I had heard they recently released an iPhone/Pod/Pad and Android app that allows offline reading so I decided to try it out. I quickly found the app in the App Store on my phone and it installed in seconds. When I first launched the app it asked me to sign in with my Ebrary account and I was prompted with an option to visit a webpage with more information on how to set up an account. The website seemed overly complicated, so I’ll simplify it here: you need to create your on authorized Ebrary login to use the app. You first need to sign into the library’s Ebrary link with your Uni authentication. Then, click “Sign In” on the top right and click “Create an account” (or go directly there via this link). Once you’ve created your account, you will use these credentials to log into the app.

You will also be prompted to enter your Adobe login, because Ebrary uses the Adobe Digital Editions software for rights management, i.e., they use it to regulate what books you can download for offline reading and how long you can keep them. That’s another account you’ll need to create if you don’t have one.

After I had logged into the app for the first time, I was taken through a many-page manual. It isn’t completely clear how to exit this manual but through trial and error I found that a tap to the middle of the screen will bring up the app’s menu (and maybe I would have learned this if I had enough patience to read the manual). This is also true when you’re reading a book.

With the “online search” function, I found the book I wanted: Subculture: The Meaning of Style. I opened the book and hit the “download” button, and after a few seconds it was in my “Downloads” folder and ready to read online. If you open a downloaded book and click the “i” for info, you can see how long you have it for. In my case it’s 2 weeks, which was a welcome surprise after I was recently given only 2 hours to read an ebook I downloaded onto my computer from Ebsco. For me, the 2-week checkout is good motivation to stay on top of my reading.

In the end I personally prefer to read paper books over device screens, but it makes hanging onto a subway pole easier! You can’t beat instant gratification.