The rapidly growing e-reader market proved popular in the past year at Augusta area libraries, where the number of e-book downloads nearly quadrupled.
Patrons of the East Central Georgia Regional Library system checked out more than 2,000 e-books in May. In May 2011, just 552 were checked out, said Sherryl James, the community service librarian.
James expects e-book checkouts to continue growing as people become more accustomed to the technology and services offered. Patrons make downloads from home or other places without going to a library branch.
“A lot of people still aren’t aware we have e-books for Kindles, Nooks and generic e-readers,” James said. “It’s a convenient way to get your hand on a book.”
The library system uses Georgia Download Destination, an online database with more than 2,300 e-books, including best-sellers, fiction and nonfiction titles. In Columbia County, the library uses a system called NetLibrary.
E-books are available on the e-readers for a certain time period, either seven or 14 days. The database has a limited number of copies of each book, and patrons can put a book on hold until it becomes available, James said.
“It operates almost just like having a book on the shelf,” she said.