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Downloadable Library Books Grow in Popularity

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Lori Friedli is one of many employees and patrons of the Mamaroneck Library making use of the technology that provides downloadable audiobooks and e-books.

Friedli, a reference librarian, has had the inside track on the growing market for downloadable library books, but patrons are catching on as more titles in more formats become available.

In August 2009, patrons county-wide downloaded 2,716 e-books and audiobooks, 60 of which came from Mamaroneck. In January 2011, that number of jumped to 7,014, 164 of which came from Mamaroneck.

"It's the future," said Friedli, who can often be found reading an e-book on her iPod. "Multiple formats are a wonderful idea because you can reach everybody. And it's at the library where you can find all of these formats."

There are currently 3,095 unique titles available for audiobook downloads, which have been checked out a total of 81,943, and 4,060 titles for e-books, which have been checked out a total of 57,369 times. There will be even more titles available in 2012.

The digital downloads are provided by the Westchester Library System. From that site, patrons can download digital books and audiobooks. They will need a valid library card and PIN as well as a device that meets the system requirements for the type of materials they want to download. They’ll also need an e-mail address as a place to hold a title.

Supportable devices include PC Windows, Mac, Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Sony Reader and NOOK. The Amazon Kindle was added to the list Sept. 21.

"Ideally, what I'd like to be able to do is teach a class on how to download books. The only problem is that everyone has a different device. But, we do offer help if someone comes in and needs it," Friedli said.

In addition to downloadable books, Friedli is excited about another alternative to the CD audiobook, the MP3 disc audiobooks. The sing-disc audiobooks removes the hassle of changing discs while listening to a book or uploading it to your computer, Friedli said.

Although downloadable books aren't a major part of the Mamaroneck Library's circulation, Friedli said, they are growing in popularity.

"I think it's an ageless technology," she said. "It's so user friendly that anybody can do it."

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