EBooks—books in digital form that are downloaded to your home computer or portable devices such as Kindle, iPad, or smartphone—were first added to circulation in August 2010. Since then, over five thousand new patrons of the Santa Barbara Public Library have signed up for the OverDrive service, which provides eBook and downloadable audiobook services to libraries throughout the country. Many more people have become digital patrons through the BlackGold Cooperative library system, which covers libraries throughout Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The ease of downloading eBooks or audiobooks online, 24/7—and the fact that many popular titles are available—have contributed to the dramatic rise in popularity of digital library loans. Digital lending is also growing in popularity among younger readers—teens, tweens, and kids. Spencer Love, age 12, likes the fact that no trip to the library is needed, and also that you can skip to any eBook chapter by pushing a button. He is currently reading The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan on his iPod Touch and is on a waiting list for The Hunger Games audiobook.

Contrary to what some might imagine, the Library must purchase each eBook and audiobook title separately; due to publishing restrictions they are not merely digital files that can be copied multiple times. Users may check out up to 6 titles at a time for 7, 14, or 21 days. At the end of the lending period, titles automatically expire and become available to other users. There are no late fees, nor any fee for reserving an eBook or audiobook title.

Local residents have a great opportunity to get familiar with the eBook lending process early next month as the OverDrive Digital Bookmobile comes to Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta on Thursday, February 2 from noon to 6 pm and on Friday, February 3 from 1–7 pm. The Digital Bookmobile—housed in an 18-wheel tractor-trailer equipped with state of the art media and sound systems—will teach readers of all ages how to download eBooks from the library through interactive demonstrations and high-definition instructional videos. A “gadget gallery” of portable media players—including Kindle®, iPod® touch, Android™ tablet, NOOK™, Sony® Reader™, BlackBerry®, Windows® Phone, and more—will allow visitors to experience eBooks and audiobooks on the same devices they use at home. Visitors may also search the library’s digital media collection on the Bookmobile and sample eBooks, audiobooks, music, and video. All visitors who apply for a library card, or show their current local library card at the Bookmobile, can enter a drawing to win prizes donated by Camino Real Marketplace stores.

If you can’t make it to the Digital Bookmobile, you can learn how to check out and download digital titles anytime, anywhere through the instructional videos at www.sbplibrary.org. This is also where you can browse the eBook and audiobook collection to look for new titles or your favorite classic.


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