Sunday, November 20, 2011

Our Nook Adventure: Part 2 - Set up

Famous last words: ”I think I’ve figured it out...”

Now that I’ve configured the Nooks, I realize that my original plan of listing by the book title, rather than the Nook was misguided. Although, to be fair, all of my questions weren’t yet answered when I made that plan. I didn’t realize how the un-managed account would work. Since I have less than the 25 required for a Barnes & Noble managed account, I am managing the Nooks myself.

It’s all about how you register the Nooks. I had planned to only have 1 copy of each title. I had a bright idea of having genre Nooks. We’d have the science fiction Nook, the fantasy Nook, the realistic fiction Nook - you get the idea.

Then I began registering the Nooks. I realized I had two choices. This was explained to me by the very helpful digital rep at Barnes & Noble. You can register up to 6 Nooks at a time per email account set up on So, he told me, you can group 5 of your Nooks with 2 different emails. Or, you can open up 10 different BN accounts. He said it was my choice. Um, well, obviously 10 BN accounts would be cumbersome, to say the least, so I went with 2.

I opened up the BN accounts to began registering the 2 groups of 5 Nooks. By the way, I had purchased a BN gift card to attach to the accounts to buy eBooks. Even with a gift card, you must also have a backup credit card. This is causing some concern for some schools. If your school has a school credit card, that works great. But my BN customer service rep had a great idea and suggested I purchase one of those VISA gift cards for a small amount and that will register as a credit card. There’s always the option of using your personal credit card as a back up. Most people don’t want to do that. Don’t worry, though, because you can password protect the Nooks, so no one can purchase from the store on the Nooks. We did password protect our Nooks. They can't even download samples, which is great!

At this point, I was still planning to put the books I wanted on each Nook. (according to the genre groups). I had already purchased a few free books to experiment with. As I registered the first group of 5, I realized that those free books were popping up on all the Nooks in that group. I went online to investigate in my BN account. There is no way to send specific books to specific Nooks. There is a way to do this with Kindles, but that’s another story. When I noticed this, I called my BN digital rep again to double check. Nope, there is no way to do that unless you have the managed account. Well, we’re aren’t planning to buy 15 more Nooks anytime soon, so not an option. Although, for other schools, you may want to note that they will count all of the Nooks in your building to add up to the 25. And it can be several months later. If you only have 10 now, but buy up to 25 later, then you can move to the managed account,

Anyway, I verified with my BN rep that I could not send books to specific Nooks, and that it was okay to have the books I purchased go to all 5 Nooks in a group. Basically, I have no choice but to do it that way. Note that my original plan was to have 1 copy of a book on a Nook, not 1 copy of a book on 5 Nooks.

Here’s where the “I think I have it figured out part...” was jinxed.
I could not catalog the eBooks by titles as originally planned, nor could I group by genre. Here’s what I ended up doing, which I think worked out just great in the end.

I have group 1 (Nooks 1-5) and group 2 (Nooks 6-10). In our catalog, I created two different titles in our library catalog; we use Destiny. In the first title record, I included all of the titles and authors of the books in that group in the “contents” Marc tag. I did the same with the second title. Then I added copies to each title. I used Nook 1, Nook 2, Nook 2, etc. as call numbers, rather than FIC or Equipment. This makes it clean and easy to know which Nooks are checked out and which Nooks are available. Plus, a patron can request a hold on a Nook and they’ll know which group of titles they’re requesting.

I love all the aspects of how the cataloging worked out, except for one thing. Since I only put the titles and authors in the contents, patrons can only find them in the catalog by doing an “everything” or keyword search. If you look Hunger Games up by title, the Nooks won’t come up. I suppose I could add the titles and authors under that section in the record, but it was going to get pretty cumbersome with 20 titles. Right now, it’s pretty simple to add new titles in the contents section, as I buy more titles. So, we’ll see in time. Since I also have an annotated listing of titles at the circulation desk, as well as on my eBook LibGuide, I’m not too worried about it.

Back to the BN account and how to load the books. I have our gift card attached to both BN accounts. I go into one account and purchase the titles I want and they’re sent automatically to all 5 Nooks in that group. Even if the Nooks are in patron hands, the books will appear, so you don’t have to tell it to fetch it or anything. They’ll just pop up.

What I like about having the same titles on all Nooks in a group: It’s easy for circulation. Right now several people want the new Steve Jobs book, so up to 5 people can be reading that.

What I don’t like about having the same titles on all Nooks in a group: Bookmarking. If one person makes a bookmark, all people in that group see the bookmark. Yep. That was interesting to figure out. I think it could actually be fun. Students can “race” each other to finish a book. I see possibilities there.

For now, it’s working great. I love handing someone they Nook and having them realize that they can read any of the 15 or 20 books on the it. If they begin one and don’t like it, they can choose another. Or maybe they’re a fast reader, so having a little library over the Thanksgiving break is awesome! My goal in the beginning was to increase reading for pleasure, since we have such busy students, who don’t read as much when they get into the upper school. I’m hoping to hook in students who wouldn’t otherwise pick up a fiction book.

We’ll see. I’ll know more as I conduct post reading surveys and get feedback from students and faculty. If the groupings don’t work as well as we’d like, then we’ll revise.

Please feel free to ask me more questions, if you’re interested in setting up eReaders in your school or library. I have research on Kindles too. Also, I'd be happy to show you our agreement forms and other documents I created. Or you can visit our LibGuide here. And if you'd like to know more about the BN Managed Account program, Buffy spells it out nicely here.