As a school librarian, summer is one of my favorite times to catch up on professional development and read as much as possible. This year I was lucky enough to attend ALA Annual (post on this coming soon) where I was showered with galley after galley of upcoming summer, fall and even winter titles. I left New Orleans with an entire extra suitcase full of finds.
Only occasionally during my rounds through the exhibit hall was I reminded of the great service NetGalley, which allows “professional readers” (i.e. librarians and other eligible persons) access to DRM and DRM-free Galleys of upcoming titles.
The list of publishers in NetGalley’s arsenal is long, and I’ve found out about many great titles through this service. I turned a few books down when I discovered they were on NetGalley…less to carry.
Upon my return from ALA, I learned that the iPads we ordered for the coming school year were in, so I picked one up with plans to try it out. I’ve put several different reading devices on the iPad; Kindle, Copia, Stanza, Bluefire have all been added, to name a few.
All are free apps, and all have their benefits,* but I’m highlighting Bluefire for a few reasons:
- Bluefire works with Adobe Digital Editions, so ePub and PDF titles are welcome. As Dear Author states, titles with DRM (digitally rights management) restrictions are no match for Bluefire, and this app keeps librarians on the up and up while the DRM debate ensues around us. Any previously purchased DRM books from whatever vendor can all be added to the Bluefire reader without too much difficulty.
- Bluefire is the only app that gives me content to contemporary fiction without a fee–because Bluefire works with NetGalley seamlessly.This means I can go to the NetGalley website from my mobile device and download the galley directly to my mobile device.** I can skip the middle-man of loading a book onto my computer and then moving it to my iTunes library. What a timesaver! NetGalley even has this great instruction guide to help you with the download process.
- The Bluefire app also works with Library books. Back in June, Erin highlighted the Overdrive app for both iOS and Android devices. Sadly, this app remains a bit clunky. If your library hasn’t joined Overdrive, it may not make complete sense to use its app. Bluefire has been open to library books for a while, and has a handy help page for library title transfers.
Since Bluefire can handle all these types of books (nevermind free or purchased titles), the tablets in my library can become another way for me to get review copies into the hands of teen reviewers. I can help teens access ARCs in a digital format, even on their own devices. I can provide digital copies of books as prizes and know what free resources will help them access the prize. This could be a great way to have teen readers help define what digital reading will look like in your library.***
A Few Notes:
* For a good listing on the highs and lows of mobile reading apps, check out these Dear Author Posts: One from Jane on apps for iOS as well as Android devices and this one by Brian called, Reading with Android 101.
***I continue to be curious about what digital reading does/will look like in teen library programs. How are the rest of you integrating this trend into programming, advisory, app promotion, et cetera?