I have given a class on the basics of using New Hampshire Downloadable Books many times. Invariably, one of the most common reasons people hesitate to use this great service is that books are often not available right away. This post will give you the tips to quickly become a pro at using NHDB – and with only a little time, get to a point where not having something to read right away will almost never be a problem for you!
Whether you are a new user or a seasoned veteran, the way to start is by spending a couple of hours just looking through what the site has to offer. Think of it like shopping. Take a stroll along the aisle and look at all the books that might interest you. Every time you find a title that you want to read, put it in your wish list. This can be done from the individual title screen, by selecting “Add Item To Wish List” (just below the book description) or from the book browsing screen by hovering over the book cover and clicking the book mark in the lower left corner.
Once you have selected your titles, go to your account screen. Click “Lists”, then “Wish List”. You will see all the books you selected all in one place! Hovering over the book cover will tell you if the item is available right now – if it is, it will provide a “borrow” button; if it is not available, it will offer you a “hold” button. If you want to see how many are in a waiting list for one of the books, click the “more” button for that title – the number of copies and number of holds will display on the next screen.
Remember that each person can only check out an item for 2 weeks, and you can usually calculate roughly how long you will have to wait until the book is available. With lots of items now in your wish list, you can probably always find something available right now. If you are still worried about being stuck without a book, you can place holds (up to 5) on titles you are interested in. You’ll receive an email when the book becomes available – but don’t forget that you can only have 3 checked out at once, so keep your eye on your checkouts and your holds lists to make sure you have time to read everything you are getting!
I hope this helps some of you find a new path to getting the most bang for your buck out of NHDB. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact me anytime. Otherwise, happy reading!