Beginning June 6, patrons of Roanoke Valley Libraries can check out eBooks for most mobile devices: the IPad, IPod, Sony eReader, most smartphones, and any computer. It’s an interfaced service through a company called Overdrive, and it will provide access to 14,000 classics and a limited number of newer titles.
Here’s how it will work: Patrons download the free software to their device, check out an eBook online with their library card through Overdrive, and the book is accessible on the device (whether it’s online or not) for a certain period of time. Then it simply disappears or auto-deletes from the device.
A press release from the company says that some of the audio eBooks can also be burned to a CD by patrons.
Using eBooks instead of regular books has advantages: no lost/stolen titles, no overdue fines, and they require no storage. There’s a minor catch, though.
“One of the things that we have to caution patrons about – the publishers only let us use the eBooks the same as the regular books – only one person can check it out” at a time said Salem Public Library director Janis Augustine.
The Southwest Virginia Public Libraries system (Montgomery, Floyd, Franklin, Galax, Fries, Grayson … ) launched access to eBooks in January 2009. In Nancy Collins, Salem Library’s research librarian’s research the only problems reported were limited availability of titles or difficulty downloading.