Frequently Asked Questions about Ownshelf

What is Ownshelf?

Ownshelf is a cloud-based service to save and share ebooks across devices.  Share your favorite books on a shelf your friends can see and borrow from. Browse your friends’ books on their shelves. Discover and download great books recommended by friends.

What does Beta mean?

Beta is a techie term for a service that is open for testing by the public, but is not quite ready with all the features.  Ownshelf is working on lots more features, many suggested or inspired by Beta users like you.  So if something is not working as you would expect, or there is a feature you would like to see, pleaselet us know.  During Beta, Ownshelf is 100% free without any feature limitations.

What ebook types and devices does Ownshelf support?

We support the open epub ebook format that is supported across almost all devices (except Kindle).  The files must be free of DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection.  You can access Ownshelf from any browser (though we are aware of some issues in IE9) to browser, manage, and transfer books on your shelf.  We have tested Ownshelf for iPads, Android tablets, most iPhone and Android phones, Nooks, Macs and Windows PCs.

What is DRM?

DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, and it is a way to lock digital files so they only work on certain devices.  Almost all books sold by Amazon and Barnes&Noble will have DRM to prevent transferring the files.  There are many sources of books without DRM, including publishers like Tor, Harlequin/Carina, Pottermore, Smashwords, and O’Reilly.

Do you support Kindle?

At this time, it is not easy to get ebooks onto Kindles without using Amazon’s services.  Kindle’s user the closed .mobi format for ebooks.  Ownshelf uses the open and widely adopted epub format.  There are tools and services to convert epubs to mobi format, the most common is called Calibre and is free to use.

What about book copyrights?

Books that Ownshelf features are free to share.  Some are in the public domain, and others are shareable via a form of copyright known as Creative Commons that gives readers specific rights to share those books.  Books that you put on your shelf might have some form of copyright that protects the content creator, as well as defining your rights to use the ebook.  Consider the copyright and whether your posting of the book is fair-use to backup and/or share.  Your shelf is your own digital locker.  Ownshelf legally must comply, or inform you, of any legitimate takedown notices filed by content owners.

How can I get an ebook from Ownshelf to my ereader?

In the “Books” tab, you can view all the books on your shelf. Click on any book to download it to your device.  On some devices, you will be given the option to open or import the book into your ereader.  Some devices put the book in the Downloads section of your device, and you must manually move or import the book into the ereader.  To accomplish this, we have found that iPads, as well as Androids (with the Aldiko reader) work most smoothly.

What is the price of Ownshelf?

How many books may I borrow from friends at a time?

Is there an iOS or Android app for Ownshelf?