Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Guide to Digital Media Apps at Your Public Library: Part Four - RB Digital

This is part four of my four-part guide to digital media apps available through public libraries. For an explanation of this series and an index to all four parts that will be published this week, read A Guide to Digital Media Apps at Your Public Library: Introduction. This guide will also be available as a .PDF booklet in the near future.

In This Post:

What is RB Digital?

RB Digital is an app for accessing e-books and audiobooks, as well as materials like magazines, concerts, Acorn TV, Great Courses, and lessons in the arts. Each library determines for itself what is available to its specific patrons. For the purposes of this guide, I will be focusing only on e-books and audiobooks and not on any of the other formats.

What is Available on RB Digital?

The titles available to you in RB Digital are selected by the librarians at your specific local library. If you have cards at multiple libraries, you may have access to different items depending on which one you use to log in. All of the audiobooks available through RB Digital are produced by Recorded Books.

Accessing RB Digital

RB Digital can be accessed on the web at your library’s own unique URL or through the RB Digital app. For e-books, the app is compatible with Apple iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire. For audiobooks, it works with those three as well as the Nook. When you first register to use RB Digital, you will input an email address and password, which is what you will use to log in each time you open the app. Once you are logged into the app, it is possible to add accounts at other libraries under the same email address. These are called profiles, and they can be added by clicking on “Account.” Switching back and forth between profiles allows you to view the collections at multiple libraries without having to type in new log-in information every time.

It is also possible to download RB Digital e-books on your computer with Adobe Digital Editions and to download audiobooks using the RB Digital Media Manager.

Note: If you previously used the magazine app Zinio, you already have an RB Digital account (provided your library currently subscribes to RB Digital.) Zinio merged with RB Digital in 2017.

Browsing and Searching on RB Digital

You can browse on RB Digital only by format or by genre. The app’s default view also shows you recently added and popular titles. Keyword and advanced searches are available, and you can usually tell as you are typing in a desired title whether it’s available or not, as the search bar will bring up potential matches for your text as you type. The user interface feels a little less streamlined than some of the other digital media apps out there, but it is fairly straightforward to figure out.

Borrowing Items from RB Digital

It can be difficult to tell within the app what the borrowing limits are for your RB Digital account. Your local library determines how many items you can borrow, so this information is likely listed on the library website, but there is nothing within the app that displays the number of borrows you have used or the number you have remaining. Loan periods are easier to discern, as you are able to select the number of days for which you want to borrow each item, and once you have checked out an e-book or audiobook, the date on which it expires is displayed on its cover image.

When you check out a book, it downloads to your device automatically. (If you are concerned about using too much data, there is a setting to ensure that downloads will only occur over wi-fi.) If the book you want to borrow is already checked out, you can place a hold. As you search and browse the catalog, you can also add items to your wishlist to remind you to check them out in the future. Your items will expire automatically at the end of the loan period, but they will not automatically be deleted from your device. Using a file explorer or cleaner program is the best way to find and delete the files associated with expired RB Digital borrows. You can also return items manually before their loan periods end. Even after you return an item, RB Digital will remember the title in your History, so you can look back and see what you have checked out in the past.

The RB Digital Reading Experience

You can read and listen to RB Digital materials right in the app without the need for any additional devices. As you listen to audiobooks, you can see only how much time is left in the current chapter. There is no display showing you how far you have come in the book as a whole. There is a table of contents listing how long each chapter is, so you can do some mental math to figure it out, but mostly you have to guess roughly how far into the book you are. The table of contents does make it very easy to jump to a specific section of the book.

For e-books, the features are also pretty basic. You can change the text layout, font size, line spacing and background color in settings. You can also lock or unlock the screen rotation, search and highlight within the text, and add bookmarks to pages you want to remember. The bottom of the screen shows the current page and the total number of pages left to be read, but it does not calculate your progress as a percentage.

More Help with RB Digital

For further assistance with RB Digital, visit these links:

No comments:

Post a Comment