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July 2012

Reading: Yours to Discover!

July 30, 2012 | julia | Comments (0)

To discover your next great read, take a look at Book Country's Genre Map .

Book Country is a social networking site for readers and writers of genre fiction. The focus is on providing an online space for writers to critique others’ work, share tips, and learn about publishing. Book Country’s Genre Map identifies five main genres: mystery, romance, fantasy, thriller, and sci-fi. Each genre is divided into several sub-genres, and each of these is structured around eight main tones: light, dark, funny, scary, innocent, sexy, realistic, and fantastic. Click on a genre to read a brief synopsis of the genre and see its selected “landmark” books. Click on “explore the map” and navigate through the various sub-genres and tones. Although Book Country is a subsidiary of the Penguin Book Group, it does not limit its selections to Penguin titles.


Happy reading!



Summer Reading

July 23, 2012 | Joanne | Comments (0)

Summer is the perfect time to plan a trip or just relax and enjoy a good book.

Travel eBooks 

Check out Canadian Travel Guides, Ulysses Series! Includes over 125 eBooks from Canada's leading travel publisher. Some titles are in French. Titles are streamed on library computers and can also be enjoyed on a home computer.

In addition to reading online, titles can be downloaded to a home computer for 14 days through Adobe Digital Editions, a free software program for Windows and Mac. They can also be transferred to a Sony Reader and other supported devices using Adobe Digital Editions. Travel titles can be transferred to an iPhone, iPad or Touch using the Bluefire Reader app.

 Boston         Cyclotourism9782894647417        Hawaii9782894649084

Audio Book Cloud for Children and Adults

Includes 1,000 fiction, non-fiction, classics and Spanish language eAudiobooks. No downloading is required. Titles are streamed on library computers and can also be enjoyed at home. You can browse or search by a specific title.  Book reviews are also included.

Here is a small sample of titles:

AMapOfGlass       AudreyHepburn   OutOfTime


Read-Along and Talking Books for Children and Teens

Listen to audiobooks or read-along on a library computer or at home on your personal computer.

  • TumbleBook Library includes talking picture books and read along chapter books for older children. Some iPad compatible titles have recently been added.

         TumbleBook50below_big     Tumble Book BigOrLittle

  • TumbleReadables includes beginning readers, chapter books, teen fiction and graphic novels.

          Tumble Readables ants    Tumble Book BigOrLittle

Happy reading!











A Decade of eBooks

July 16, 2012 | Out of Print | Comments (0)


While it often seems like eBooks and eBook readers are a fairly new thing to public libraries, in fact Toronto Public Library has been providing access to this technology for over a decade. Back in the summer of 2000, we began a pilot project circulating two types of ebooks: Rocket ebook readers that contained a selection of pre-loaded titles and NetLibrary ebooks that were downloaded from the library’s website to either library or personal PCs.  While the Rocket ebooks circulated from only six branches, the NetLibrary titles were available to all TPL customers through the TPL website. At the time, TPL was one of the first of five public libraries in North America to provide ebooks for their customers and the second library in Canada to do so.

I thought it would be interesting to look at the state of eBooks then and now, by comparing a Rocket to a Kobo:


Rocket eBook - 2000

Kobo Touch - 2012




Screen size



Memory size

4 MB, non-expandable

1 GB, expandable to 32 GB

Book capacity


1,000 – 32,000


127mm x 190mm x 38mm

114mm x 165mm x 10mm




Battery life

17 – 33 hours

10 days

File types


ePub, PDF, MOBI, RTF, CBR, CBX, TXT, HTML, images

12 years is a long time in computer technology, so it's not surprising to see great leaps in memory capacity and battery life. What is interesting are the improvements in making ebook readers more user friendly; a wider variety of supported file types, much lighter weight, and cheaper purchase prices (although it must be pointed out that the Amazon Kindle 2 retailed for $279 when introduced in 2009 and still has limits on supported file types). And some things haven't changed, namely a touch screen interface and retaining the general dimensions of a paperback book.

A survey of users of TPL's Rocket eBooks at the time revealed that 92% found it easy to use and 67% would borrow one again. The primary reasons for not wanting to borrow again were the weight, the fact that users could not choose their own titles, and the high cost of replacement if damaged.

Even a decade ago, the eBook industry was rapidly changing; between the time TPL purchased the devices in 2000 and finished the pilot project in the fall of 2001, the manufacturer went out of business and the recommendation was not to purchase additional ebook readers as the marketplace "appears to be shifting away from dedicated readers." That hasn't happened yet, but who wants to predict how we'll be reading our novels and textbooks in 2024?


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