BY ROBERT DIGITALE
Looking for something good to read on that Kindle or iPad? Have you tried your local library?
The Sonoma County Library is closing in on its first month of offering more than 1,000 ebook titles via a company called Overdrive Media. It provides free downloads for up to 21 days for various reading devices.
Borrowers may check out up to seven titles at a time. They also may place a hold on up to five titles.
The library also is a member of Open Library, where patrons can sign up and select from more than 100,000 ebook titles. David Dodd, the county library’s collections manager, recently wrote to me that Open Library became available to California residents earlier this year and that the county library joined the program in the spring.
To find the library’s ebook site, click here.
When I browsed the site, I checked out “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” for my PC’s Kindle program, and “Curious George’s ABCs” to my Apple laptop. Okay, I did this mostly to see how easily the process worked rather than to scour the catalog for the newest and most popular ebooks. (I found it works pretty easily. Patrons often can choose from a range of dates: seven, 14 or 21 days. You can return books before the expiration date in order to check out more. And when your borrowing period is done, you don’t need to schlep printed books back to the library return box. The ebooks are supposed to expire and disappear from your device. There are never any fines for late returns. For ease of use, it’s sort of the Netflix of library services.)
In addition to these services, the county Library Foundation has set aside $35,000 to help build up the library’s ebook collection, including some new bestsellers.
The county library this year has joined the vast majority of libraries who are offering electronic books to their patrons. A June library staff report helps explain why: the ebook format is the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry.
The library also is interested in offering the ebooks of local authors. I’ll have more on that tomorrow.