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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The Latest Craze Is E-books

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, January 16, 2005

The latest craze in libraries is e-books. Christmas gift giving was clearly focused toward the purchase of the various palm devices that can download electronic books to take along wherever you go.

An e-book of the digital version of a print book that can be read on your home computer, Mac, Smartphone, Palm OS device, or Pocket PC. Free reader software is available for your computer from the e-book site. You can download and enjoy the e-books you have selected and take them with you without being connected to the Internet.

Best of all, all you need is your device and your library card. Better yet, they are never overdue and you don't have to return them! The system checks them out to you for 21 days, and at the end of that time they simply disappear from your computer or device. No overdue fine, ever, with e-books. And now, the next step in e-books.  

Beginning last week, the system has e-audio books. These are digital versions of Books on Tape, and Books on CD that you can check out of the library to listen to a book. The e-audio books are the same thing, just different format. These e-products open a whole new world to library users, and will excite young people into library usage.

All you have to do is go to the library electronic catalog at www.steubenville.lib.oh.us On the front page, select E-Books and you will be connected to Overdrive, the provider of the e-products. The catalog works just like the catalog for print materials, although it is formatted differently. The e-product catalog is divided into search topics, including Romance, Mystery, Literature, Science Fiction, Computers, to name a few.  

You can also search by format of the e-product, author/title, or by new additions. You can look only at the e-audio books if you desire. Thumbnail pictures of the product are provided, as well as descriptions of the book and author, reviews, and additional information.

This library is open 24/7 and has the actual product to download. So far, the libraries in the system have purchased over 2,100 e-books in Adobe and Mobipocket format, with another 160 titles in the just-started e-audio book format.

All the libraries are acquiring and addition new titles to this growing system. Not all books available in print copy are available in e-book format at this time; it will take time for authors and publishers to accept the e-book.

This is the "second try" for e-books and the mistakes of the first effort have been a learning experience for the publishers. So, you haven't been to the library for a long time?  Try us electronically, and take home a book without physically coming to your library.