E-books, books that can be electronically downloaded and read on a variety of devices, from Kindle and the Nook to an iPad or smart phone, are taking the literary world by storm. According to the International Digital Publishing Forum, wholesale sales of e-books in the U.S. grew to nearly $120 million in the third quarter of 2010, up from about $45 million only a year ago. And that was before the huge bump from holiday sales. For Christmas, both Barnes & Noble and Amazon reported that their e-readers (the Nook and the Kindle, respectively) were their single best-selling products.
The Shelter Island Library, in conjunction with the Suffolk Cooperative Library System (SCLS) and its Live-brary service, is well ahead of the curve in terms of offering patrons electronic materials in every possible format. According to Library Director Denise DiPaolo, “Live-brary is a one-stop, digital branch for Suffolk County library cardholders that allows you to access, free of charge, thousands of audio books, electronic books, movies, music and much more via the Internet.” As Ms. DiPaolo says, “With our terrific Live-brary services, you can use your library card, not your credit card, to get the e-materials you want.” If you are trying to decide which of the many devices to purchase, you should know that the Live-brary format is compatible with and supports most brands of e-readers, mobile devices and operating systems, including Mac and Apple, with the exception of the Amazon Kindle.
Even a quick browse through the titles, accessed via the library’s website, readshelterisland.org, will amaze you with the breadth and depth of the resources. There’s the complete “Twilight” series, for example, and plenty of novels by perennial best-selling authors such as Dan Brown and Nelson DeMille.
To get started, click on the live-brary.com logo and log in using your library card number. If it is your first visit to the site, you will need to download the free software that is compatible with your computer or your mobile device but it is not a difficult process. Patrons can borrow an e-book title for 7 or 14 days and up to five titles may be checked out at one time. If a title you want is not available, you may opt to be put on a reserve list, just like for hard-copy books, and you’ll be notified when your choice is available. Given the huge increase in checkouts after the holiday season, Ms. DiPaolo said that SCLS has made a commitment to increasing both the scope of the collection and the number of copies of popular items, to reduce the waiting time that may be involved for some titles.
According to Ms. DiPaolo, there is one big advantage to using the e-book option, “You never have to return things. You’re never fined and you’re never overdue,” she said. At the end of the borrowing period, the material simply “disappears.” Another benefit is unlimited access to Google’s Project Gutenberg, which offers more than 33,000 classic titles on which the copyright has expired. A new instructional video on how to download e-books has just been made and is available at live-brary.com. And of course, if you need help in getting started or accessing the materials, the library’s staff is always happy to assist.
So grab your library card and get started on the brave new world of electronic resources. See you at the library!
“Damage,” John Lescroart
“Daniel,” Henning Markell
“Family Affair,” Debbie Macomber
“The Inner Circle,” Brad Meltzer (also in audio book)*
“The Judas Gate,” Jack Higgins
“The Lake of Dreams,” Kim Edwards
“The Red Garden,” Alice Hoffman
“While Mortals Sleep,” Kurt Vonnegut
“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough,” Ruth Pennebaker
“You Know When the Men are Gone,” Siobhan Fallon
“Clara and Mr. Tiffany,” Susan Vreeland (also in audio book)
“The Sentry,” Robert Crais*
“Strategic Moves,” Stuart Woods*
“Fatal Error,” J. A. Jance
“The Attenbury Emeralds,” Jill Paton Walsh
“The Border Lords,” T. Jefferson Parker
“The Cypress House,” Michael Koryta
“Tick Tock,” James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
“To Have and To Kill,” Mary Jane Clark
“Give Me Your Heart,” Joyce Carol Oates
“In Too Deep,” Jayne Ann Krentz (audio book)
“Port Mortuary,” Patricia Cornwall (audio book)
“Secrets to the Grave,” Tami Hoag (audio book)
“J.D. Salinger,” Kenneth Slawenski
“Jackie as Editor,” Greg Lawrence
“Poser,” Claire Dederer
“Wait for Me,” Deborah Mitford
“Bird Cloud,” Annie Proulx
“The 7 Wonders That Will Change Your Life,” Glenn Beck and Keith Ablow*
“America’s Women,” Gail Collins
“Cinch!”, Cynthia Sass
“Cinderella Ate My Daughter,” Peggy Orenstein
“Little Princes,” Conor Grennan
“Play Their Hearts Out,” George Dohrmann
“Sh*t My Dad Says,” Justin Helpern*
“The 4-hour Body,” Timothy Ferriss*
“Straight Talk, No Chaser,” Steve Harvey with Denene Millner*
“The View From Lazy Point,” Carl Safina
“Cleopatra,” Stacy Schiff (audio book)*
*New York Times best seller