With the introduction of the new Kindle Fire, the St. Charles City-County Library District expects to see an increase in patrons hoping to download eBooks from the District’s already extensive collection of downloadable books.
Kindle owners are not the only ones able to access the Library District’s collection of eBooks and eAudio. There are dozens of devices that are compatible with the Library District’s eLending system, including Nook and Sony devices. The District’s website has a complete list of compatible devices.
Head of Children’s Resource & Marketing for the Library District, Maggie Preiss, said that the Library District currently owns 7,656 unique eBook titles and a total of 8,307 copies of eBooks. The latter figure includes duplicate copies of the titles owned by the library. As with hard copies of library books, only one copy of each eBook may be checked out at any given time.
Preiss said that sometimes patrons think that eBooks mean unlimited copies. The eBooks, however, enhance the current print collection.
“We do want people to tell us if they are looking for specific downloadable titles so we can purchase titles that meet customer needs, just like we do with our print collection,” she said.
The Library District currently also owns 8,196 copies of eAudio books.
Additionally, the Library District adds new titles each month. For example, Preiss said that 403 new eBooks and 125 new eAudio books were added in November alone.
Martha Radginski, Branch Manager of , said that the staff at all the Library District branches are knowledgeable and can help patrons with difficulties they may have in downloading materials.
Radginski said that the district’s website is a great resource and provides a step-by-step tutorial for downloading eBooks. Many of the branches currently offer classes to help patrons with the checkout and download process.
She said that the introduction of eBooks has not impacted the number of hard copy books the library has nor does she see that happening in the future.
“It is just a new source for patrons to check out books,” Radginski said.
Radginski added that one of the great benefits of eBooks is that there are never any overdue fines. Once the one or two week timeframe is up, the eBook is simply removes itself from the reading device.
The Library District budget runs from July 1 through June 30. The current budget allocates more than $76,000 for eBooks and more than $107,000 for audio books. Preiss said that eBook borrowing now surpasses audio book borrowing for the first time ever.
Checkout of downloadable books from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010
- eAudio: 42,121
- eBook: 13,641
Checkout of downloadable books from January 1, 2011 through November 30, 2011
- eAudio: 50,461
- eBook: 67,879
Unique number of library patrons using downloadable eAudios and eBooks since 2008
Number of checkouts since 2008
- eAudio: 134,410
- eBook: 85,850
The Library District lends their eBooks through a company called Overdrive. To borrow eBooks, device owners are able to download software through Overdrive.
Library patron and O’Fallon resident, Stacey Kelley said the process was simple and the actual download took less than 60 seconds.
Recently, the Penguin Group, which includes publishers such as Putnam, Viking, Berkley Trade and Penguin Press, announced that it would halt library lending of its new titles, citing security concerns. Preiss confirmed that any Penguin eBooks that the Library District currently owns should be unaffected and patrons will still be able to access those titles.
Overdrive negotiates with the publishers to gain download rights for libraries nationwide. At the end of November, 2011, Overdrive issued a statement via EarlyWord, stating that OverDrive was to suspend the availability of new Penguin eBooks from Overdrive’s library catalog at Penguin’s request. Penguin replied that this was only a delay until they determined how to keep their titles secure from improper use.