January 20, 2011

E-reading could mean change in traffic for local libraries

By Michael Johnson, Editor

These days fewer and fewer readers are choosing to buy that crisp new book when they can download a book on a sleek and smaller electronic reading device. Amazon and Barnes and Noble both sold more eBooks the week after Christmas than physical books thanks to millions of e-readers being gifted during the Christmas season. The switch in book sales is a trend that has many publishers and book stores concerned as eBooks can be downloaded from anywhere and cost much less than the hard copy. But that trend is also being followed by rural areas like the McLean-Mercer Regional Library system. The board and libraries jumped on the e-wagon in September and are ready to give those techno-savvy folks in the area what they want. But they aren’t about to say goodbye to those paper pages that they have surrounded themselves in for all these years. At Underwood Public Library, librarian Harmony Higbie is embracing the idea of getting people interested in using the library’s downloading system, Overdrive. She will be holding a digital media class that is free and open to the community next week. Higbie said those coming to the class should bring a laptop and/or other electronic device that they can use to download an eBook, audio book or movie from the Web site as long as they have a library card. The site allows downloading of any classic book with no return date, eBooks and audio books can be checked out for two to three weeks and movies for three to seven days.



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