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Statewide Online Services News

Statewide Services covers Online Resources (databases), Digital Book eLending (ebooks, audiobooks, video storybooks) and the Kansas Library eCard. 

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May 04

Digital Book Highlight: Gardening

Posted on May 4, 2016 at 12:00 AM by Lianne Flax

Instead of doing a single digital book, we're highlighting gardening ebooks.

Last month when we promoted the book Gardening with Less Water (see previous post here) I ended up browsing through the gardening books on our ebook vendors Enki, Freading, and Total Boox. The amount of gardening, cooking, agriculture, and DIY books available is more than generous. Here are some titles to give you an idea of the scope. I’ve stuck to titles that are available on more than one.

country almanac  

Country Wisdom Almanac by Storey Editors (on Enki & Total Boox).  An almanac is the most familiar and general of guides for gardening, home improvement, recipes.  While the exact date of Easter will be dated in past years’ almanac, the other information is pretty timeless.


Planting the Dry Shade Garden by Graham Rice (on all 3). While there are a lot of general gardening books, you will find just as many dedicated to a specific garden type.  Whether you have sun or shade, planting fruits or succulents/cacti, or maybe you just want to attract butterflies, there’s a book for you.  This one attracted me because my Topeka neighborhood’s huge trees mean there is almost no direct sun!


The American Meadow Garden by John Greenlee (on all 3).  Another example of a fantastic specialty title.  Transition to a prairie-style planting for a low-maintenance and low-water yard.  Native grasses definitely make sense in Kansas.

culinary herbal
The Culinary Herbal by S. Belsinger and A. Tucker (on Enki & Freading).  This is new this year and looks to be a great reference book for herbs (soil, sun, water needs, harvest & use).  It is also is a great example of the overlap in gardening and cookbooks.

Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects by Storey Publishing (on all 3).  Storey is also great about bringing you DIY books.  This one pulls together basic diagrams and material needs for common garden structures (raised beds, arbors, compost bins, benches, bird feeders).

chicken gardens Free-Range Chicken Gardens by Jessi Bloom (on all 3). Is your backyard really a barnyard? You’ll also find tons of books on raising chickens, goats, bees, and all manner of farm critters in these nonfiction collections.
Need to setup with one of these?  Please see the notes on  You will need a Kansas Library eCard to check out books.

Never used one of these ebook systems, and wonder which to pick --

  • Using your computer (and maybe transferring to a Nook/ereader)?  Freading and Enki both download books to your computer using the same software.  So, setup once and use either site at will.  Enki has a longer checkout period (3 weeks vs 2 weeks) and allows you to checkout more books at a time, but Freading has unlimited book copies so there are never holds. 
  • Have an iPad/iPhone or Android device, and think you’ll want to revisit the nonfiction book over time?  Total Boox checkouts don’t expire from your app, so you would not have to check it out again as with the others (these devices can use all 3 services, and you can always checkout a book again on Enki or Freading if it expires).
  • Have a Kindle Fire?  Total Boox app is in your Amazon App Store, so is the easiest to setup and install on this device.
  • ChromeBook User or you don’t care to install and setup software/apps?  Enki has a read-online option that lets you read books directly in your browser.