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From the Librarian's Desk: Try an E-Book

Library has more than 18,000 titles

E-books are the hottest things these days. For the uninitiated, an e-book is the electronic counterpart of a printed book, and can be viewed on a computer, a tablet (the iPad) a smart phone (Android, Blackberry, iPhone) or an e-book reader (Nook, Sony Reader, Kindle, Kobo). People are embracing e-books, and especially e-readers, for convenience and accessibility. While the screens of most e-readers are comparable in size to hardback book, they weigh less than a pound and can hold numerous titles, which makes them great for travel. E-books are also popular for instant gratification. You can download them 24/7. There are thousands of paid e-books out there, but Cuyahoga County Public Library has them for free.

The library system purchased its first e-book in 2003; there are now over 18,000 downloadable copies in the collection. The number of customers actively using the collection has increased by 281 percent, and the number of downloads from our site has increased by 271 percent in the last year! At this moment, there are over 5,600 e-books currently checked out. Compared to statistics for the purchase and circulation of printed books these numbers are relatively low, but the percentages show the format is here to stay.

So how does getting e-books from the library work? You need a library card, Internet access, and a device that is compatible with the materials (the library also has downloadable audio books and music) you want to borrow. A one-time installation of some free software is required, and you are ready to enjoy.

When an e-book is checked out on your card, it appears on your device for three weeks, is transferable (you can copy it from your computer to your iPhone for example) and at the end of the loan period it is automatically returned to the library, so there are never any late fees. There is a wish list feature and you can place e-books on hold. Using the library as your source for e-books means you have access to the search features of the library’s online catalog, with additional ones specific to this format. You can search for e-books by title, subject, author and keyword. You can further search by what is available, date purchased, by award, and by your type of reader.

To learn even more, visit the Downloadables page at www.cuyahogalibrary.org. Here you will find great advice on choosing an e-reader, FAQs, troubleshooting, and suggestions for getting the most out of the collection. And plan to attend Managing the Downloadable Collection, a free class presented by the library’s Internet Specialist Joe Salamon, on Friday April 22 at 10:30 a.m.

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