Technical Aspects

These tech tips grow out of librarians’ experiences training and interacting with their staff and with their public.

Pilot Project Devices Used

  Kindle wifi Barnes & Noble NOOK Apple iPad 2
display size 6" Diagonal 6" Diagonal 9.7" Diagonal
(w x d x h) 
7.5" x 0.335" x 4.8" 6.5" x 0.47" x 5.0" 7.5" x 0.5" x 9.6"
weight 8.5 oz 7.48 oz 21.44 oz
storage 4GB 2GB + SD Expandable (32 GB max) 16 GB
battery life 30 hours (wifi off) 30 hours (wifi off) 10 hours
content support Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion. ePub, PDF (text); JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP JPG, TIFF, GIF (images); DOC(X) (Microsoft Word); HTM(L) (web pages); Key (Keynote); Numbers (Numbers); Pages (Pages); PDF (Preview and Adobe Acrobat); PPT(X) (Microsoft PowerPoint); TXT (text); RTF (rich text format); VCF (contact information); XLS(X) (Microsoft Excel)

Adobe digital editions (ADE)

  • When using the same computer over and over again for a class, you must authorize and de-authorize Adobe Digital Editions for each patron. This clears out patron information so you can demonstrate to someone else.
    • To de-authorize Adobe Digital Editions (ADE): Control + Shift + D (i.e., while holding down the Control & Shift keys, tap the D key)
    • To de-activate a device: In ADE with the reader attached (and showing up in ADE), Control + Shift + E, and the deactivation dialog should show up.
    • “One of my major frustrations involved the limitation of Adobe Digital Editions and the number of devices that can be authorized with a specific Adobe ID. In the beginning of this process I did not understand this and used my personal laptop to authorize and test a variety of devices. Imagine my consternation when I received my own eReader as a gift and couldn’t authorize it on my computer! After a lovely online chat with an Adobe staff person, I was able to fix the problem.”—Public Librarian
    • “It’s important to understand that you can only authorize a maximum of six devices with one Adobe ID (and this includes the computer on which you have installed Adobe Digital Editions). If you have multiple devices, you will need to be sure that you create separate Adobe ID’s for each computer and maximum five devices.”—Public Librarian

Device Management

  • Customize and lock down devices.
    • “If possible, add a custom wallpaper to your e-readers so that if other identifying marks are removed, someone would be able to see who they belong to. Plus, it’s a great branding opportunity!”—Public Librarian
    • “The second thing I would not do is to enter a credit card number into a device when registering it. Even though we used an empty gift card, one staff person purchased a periodical subscription on a device. It took us a great deal of time and trouble to cancel the subscription.”
    • “I would ensure that all devices were set up to require a password prior to purchasing materials. This will help alleviate the problem of ‘accidental’ purchases.”—Public Librarian
  • Use Free Email Accounts
    • “Create Gmail accounts for each eReader and then have all Gmail accounts funnel to a Master Gmail account.”—Public Librarian

Content Management

  • Use Calibre to manage and convert EBook formats for different eBook readers.
  • Use an eBook reader that can use multiple eBooks formats.
    • “ The Nook can use the ePub format, whereas the Kindle cannot natively use ePub. The best solution is to use a table appliance, (the ubiquitous IPad for example, because it also has a browser.”—College Librarian
  • Outsource content for eReaders.
    • “Barnes & Noble handles the content for us. All of our e-readers came preloaded with the content we had selected, and when we order new content for them in June, we will submit our order to BN, and they add the content wirelessly. It will automatically appear on our e-readers. If patrons delete any of the content, BN automatically resyncs it the next time the device accesses a wireless signal. The other option is to handle the content yourself: purchase it, download it, and load it onto each device—a more labor-intensive process for your staff.”—Public Librarian
  • Select both fiction and nonfiction titles.
  • Realize that if Amazon titles are purchased, they stay with the original purchaser and can’t be transferred.
    • Materials that the State Library purchased for Kindles in the pilot project were not able to be transferred to the grantees at the end of the project but instead stayed with the State Library.
  • If one more than one device is purchased, load an entire popular series of eBooks on one device instead of spreading the eBooks among several devices.
    • “I would load popular series on each device so students could check out one device and not have to wait for other books to be returned so they can finish a series.”—School Librarian


  • Catalog multiple titles loaded on a device so that they can each be found individually.
  • When cataloging the device, list eBooks under content if they are attached to one device only.
  • When adding a copy to a title, add the Kindle and its identifying number to the description so that it shows up under a keyword search.
  • Remove page numbers and size from automatic cataloging.
    • “Students doing required reading were more willing to chose a book for its content when they could not see how many pages there were.”—School Librarian
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Funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).