I don’t own an e-reader, –There’s something about holding
a book, the smooth or sometimes rough feel of paper partnering with finger turning the page–and that new-book smell
; the book’s your friend even before it begins telling you its story.
That said, this weekend I plan to put aside my current hardcover and try out my public library’s downloadable catalogue. It’ll be my first e-book, the end of a three-year holdout–a lot longer if you count Michael Hart’s first e-book–because this is an offer you and I can’t refuse.
How can we? It’s free. We like free.
After a lot of wrangling, and you can imagine resistance from some in the publishing industry, Amazon has negotiated a deal with public libraries across the country, including Mid Columbia Libraries and the Richland Public Library, so library card holders can now download selected titles from Amazon’s e-reader catalogue.
You can now borrow a Kindle book. Just like you borrow a book from the library. After a specified number of days, the e-book simply disappears. You don’t have to return it. No late fees. No chocolate or coffee stains you have to explain to the librarian.
And if you don’t have a Kindle, you can download it to your Android or other smart phone (with the free Kindle app), tablet, or your home computer.
All you need is your library card.
You do have a library card, right? Please tell me you have a library card. Because they’re free, too.
Downloading library books is not all that new. The local branches have been offering a downloadable catalogue for a few years now, but with the advent of Kindle and other e-book readers, iPads and other tablets, and smart phone apps, libraries are hustling to keep up with the demand. “The downloadable collection has seen demand increase 305 percent over last year,” says Michael Huff. He is the collections and merchandising director at MCL. He is the man in charge of how the library spends its million dollars earmarked for what we check out. Huff says MCL currently has 20,000 titles in its downloadable catalogue, and that includes audio books (something to download on your phone before that long drive over Snoqualmie Pass this Thanksgiving).
To celebrate and promote this deal with Amazon, MCL will hold a drawing at the end of the month. Two winners get a Kindle. To get into the drawing , download a library e-book–automatically you’ll be entered every time you do. You can also enter at the MCL website and through the app on the Mid-Columbia Libraries’ Facebook Page.
I still like to roam the library stacks, nose around the new books section, and imagine one day my novel will be there, too. But when I can’t swing by the library during the week, and the library is closed on Sunday, now I can hop online and search its cyber aisles.
And I don’t have to shave first.
Check it out, and happy reading this weekend (and make sure your kids get their 20 minutes in,too).