She mentioned to me during a recent conversation that she'd started borrowing digital books from her library, and I couldn't resist asking her to do some experimenting to see just WHAT you can and can't do with these copies.
With all the hooplah over library digital-lending, I wanted to know for myself: is there really just cause to prevent this sort of thing?
Take it away Julie!
I first “borrowed” an audio book through my public library about two weeks ago. I just happened to click on “OverDrive” on the library’s home page, not knowing what it was. I learned that I could install an application called “OverDrive,” on my laptop, and through the “OverDrive Media Console,” which it set up on my desktop, I could download audio books to “borrow” from the library.
I was able to customize my lending period. My choices were seven or fourteen days. I chose fourteen.
The first book I “borrowed” was INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher. I wanted to take out a different book, too, but the other book was not available. Apparently, only a certain number of downloads can be “lent” by the library at a time, and all copies had been “checked out.”
Once the book was downloaded, it existed on my laptop in OverDrive. However, when I selected the book from my library’s website, it stated that I could transfer it to my iPod up to three times.
I transferred it to my iPod via OverDrive. I’ve listened to it exclusively on my iPod, although it was available on my laptop, as well.
After the expiration of my lending period, I got the following warning on the OverDrive Media Console on my laptop:
One or more items in your media library has expired.
-Incarceron Series, Book 1
I clicked “Cancel,” then tried to play the expired audio book. It wouldn’t let me, gave me a similar message to the above, and deleted the file.
However, I still had it on my iPod. So I hooked my iPod to my laptop to see if that would delete the book from my iPod.
I downloaded a new book to my OverDrive console. It wouldn’t let me transfer it to a USB drive. I got an error message that the format – WMA Audiobook - was incompatible with the USB.
When I chose “Burn” from the OverDrive Media Console menu, I got an error message: “Unable to burn the selected title because the license prohibits burning to CD.”
However, I WAS able to email part of the book to a friend. (The book is in six parts, each one a huge file. I was able to email one part as a .wma file. I’m sure I could have emailed the other five, as well.)
But wait! When my friend tried to listen to the audio file, he received the following error message: Windows Media Player is unable to play DRM protected media.
So basically, there seem to be plenty of protections in place to be sure that I don’t share it, and I can’t keep it on my laptop. It doesn’t seem to be able to force me to delete it from my iPod, but since I don’t know how to share a file that’s on my iPod with someone else, I guess it won’t be of any value to me once I finish listening to it. I’ll probably just delete it to free up the memory.
I should note that not ALL the books available for audio download from my library can be transferred to an iPod/iPad. Some are only for Windows, some for Mac, some just for non-Apple mp3 players, but I have to say that MOST are available for the iPod/iPad.
So that’s what a few minutes of very non-scientific research unearthed.