Tag Archives: bluefire

Everything is out…

Old Books

When I visit my local library and look for a specific book, I might be lucky and it’s on the shelf, if I am less lucky it’s not at my local library, but is available from another library. If I am unlucky then someone else has borrowed it and though I can out in a reservation, I have to wait until it is returned.

This is one of the disadvantages of having just a single copy of a printed book. Of course one of the advantages of the digital ebook is that it would be possible to make and lend it to as many people who wanted it… or so you would have thought.

My local library service, LibrariesWest have recently launched an ebook lending library. It uses Adobe Digital Editions so works fine with the Bluefire Reader app on the iPad, so no need to worry about having a proprietary ebook reader.

However I was a little taken aback when I looked at the range of books available to find that most of them were out on loan!

All out on loan

I couldn’t actually download a digital version of the book I wanted as it was on loan to somebody else. Now the reality isn’t that the digital file is on someone else’s computer and not available, no of course this is a DRM limitation placed on the library service by the publishers.

The publishers have taken the traditional business model they have used with libraries before with printed books and applied it to digital ebooks.

So if someone “borrows” an ebook, then it is not available to anyone else. This isn’t a technical restriction, it’s a business choice.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the business model only allows the books to be borrowed for a certain number of times before it “wears out”.

I am sure that LibrariesWest could spend a lot more money and have ebooks that can be borrowed by multiple users all at the same time.

What this does tell us, is that we are still at the start of the ebook lending model and at this stage publishers are trying to duplicate a traditional business model in the online world. As with a lot of other traditional business models, this will change at some point in the future.

A few of my favourite things…

Over the last two years of owning the iPad, I have downloaded lots of different apps, some of which were free and a fair few that cost hard cash!

At the recent JISC RSC SW TurboTEL event in Taunton I delivered a ten minute presentation on my favourite iPad apps.

Here are the links to all the apps in the iTunes App Store as well as a brief description of what the app is about and why I like it. Continue reading A few of my favourite things…

ebrary on Bluefire

One of the criticisms I had of the official ebrary app for iPad was that if you used Federated Access or Athens the only way to authorise the app was via Facebook.

I am never a fan of making people sign up to a social networking service just so that they can do something else or to support their learning. Also in many FE Colleges, Facebook is blocked for either staff, learners or both, or there is restricted access.

I had heard of the Bluefire app before, but hadn’t looked at it, as the reports I heard was that it “didn’t work” across Federated Access or Athens and needed a dedicated ebrary account.

Whilst researching my ebrary on Android article I decided that the Bluefire app may be worth another look, as I had read that it was possible to use Bluefire with an Adobe Digital ID to access and download ebrary books, all without needing to go through Facebook.

Download the Bluefire app from the iTunes App store, it’s a free app.

Authorise the app with your Adobe Digital ID.

Visit the ebrary platform in the mobile Safari browser. Sign in, through Federated Access (or Athens) and then find the book you want. Select Download and then download the book.

If you have the ebrary app on your iOS device then you will be asked which app you want to use with the download.

Select Open in… and then select Bluefire Reader.

In terms of usability both Bluefire and ebrary work in a similar manner.

The advantage of Bluefire over ebrary, is not just not needing to connect your ebrary account with Facebook, but also you can use the Bluefire app for other e-books, so you can use a single app for all your reading. If your college is publishing resources and assignments in ePub format then you will be able to read these in the Bluefire app.