E-book downloads nearly quadruple at area libraries

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.

LEARN MORE

For more information about using the e-book system, visit www.ecgrl.org and click on “Audiobooks/E-books” on the right side under resources. Users must be registered members of an area library.

The main library headquarters, 823 Telfair St., is holding a class on learning to download e-books to any e-reader. The hourlong class is at noon July 18. For more information, call (706) 821-2600.

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