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Getting Started with eBooks: Comparison of Some Ebook Sources

A list of free eBook sources for almost any portable device

Four ebook sources compared

 

Feature

EBSCO ebooks

Alaska Digital Library

Project Gutenberg

Open Library

Content

Over 100,000 ebooks, mostly nonfiction and academic.

Audiobooks, ebooks, and music of all types.  Of the four sources in this table, this is the best source for recent fiction and popular nonfiction.

Over 45,000 ebooks, mostly older classic works in the public domain.

About 1 million books in the Classic Collection of older works in the public domain and a growing "Modern Collection" of mostly 20th centary books.  You generally won't find new bestsellers here.

Who May Use

When using the AK State Library’s subscription, State employees on the State Network

Patrons of participating Alaska Libraries

Anyone

Anyone

Ability to Download

Most books can be downloaded; for books you can’t download in their entirety, downloads of some pages are permitted

Yes

Yes

Yes

Available File Types

ePub and, for downloads of a portion of the pages, PDF

PDF, ePub, Kindle, WMA Audiobooks and Music, MP3 Audiobooks; MP3 music is not available, and not all books are available in all formats

PDF, HTML, TXT, ePub, Kindle and other formats; however, not all books are available in all formats

PDF, ePub and Daisy for print disabled readers; books in the Classic Collection are also available in HTML, TXT, Kindle, DjVu, MOBI

Checkout Period and No. of Items Permitted

7 days; up to 10 books at once; downloaded PDFs don’t expire, but should comply with Copyright Law

7 to 21 days depending on the book; up to 10 books at once.

No limitation on the number of books, and books don’t expire after download

14 days, up to 5 books at a time, for books in the Modern Collection; no limits for books in the Classic Collection

Compatible Devices

Most eReaders and tablets; however, ePub files won’t work on the Kindle (though should work with Kindle Fire)

At least some books will work with most eReaders and tablets; here is a complete list of compatible devices

Most books will work with most eReaders and tablets

At least some books will work with most eReaders and tablets,  although the process is complicated for Kindle

Necessary Software and Accounts

Free EBSCOHost account; Adobe account and Adobe Digital Editions to download to your computer; and, if you will be using a portable device, an app

Library card from a participating library; Overdrive Media Console for ebooks and audiobooks; an Adobe account; if you will be downloading ebooks to a desktop or laptop, Adobe Digital Editions; if you are downloading Kindle books, you just need an Amazon account 

If you will be using your desktop or laptop, Adobe Digital Editions; an Adobe account; if you will be using a portable device, an app; if you are downloading Kindle books, you just need an Amazon account

Free Open Library account; If you will be using your desktop or laptop, Adobe Digital Editions; an Adobe account; if you will be using a portable device, an app; if you are downloading Kindle books, you just need an Amazon account