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Greenwich Library Adds to Ebook Collection

GREENWICH, Conn. — The popularity of ereaders and tablet devices has prompted the Greenwich Library to expand its catalog of electronic books. Librarian Stephen Schmidt says that in the past six months, demand for downloadable books has increased faster than ever before.

“In August, we were at over 2,000 downloads,” said Schmidt. “Only 986 of those has gone through our website on a traditional computer. There’s been a paradigm shift toward using mobile devices and smart phones for downloads.”

The librarians select the books and determine how many copies to buy. One of the most popular books in electronic demand is “The Help,” by Kathryn Stockett. As of last week, 10 holds had been placed on the ebook of “The Help” and the library owns eight copies.

Library users can go into an online catalog using programs such as OverDrive and iCONN . There are 251 ebook patrons, and the average wait period for books is nine days, said Schmidt.

At first, the Nook was the more popular device, Schmidt said. But lately the iPad has been the predominant reader. To download a Nook book, users must download it to a computer then synch the Nook. Librarians have obtained children’s picture books for use on the iPad, and those books can be downloaded directly onto the device.

“The display is really beautiful, and I think the trend toward tablets like the iPad is going to continue,” he said. “I think every sidewalk tag sale will have a Nook and a Kindle for sale one day because no one’s going to have a device that only does one thing.”

No matter the electronic device, Schmidt said the use of downloadable books is cost-effective and easier than traditional bound books. “From a library standpoint, these things are really nice because they don’t get lost, they don’t get damaged, they don’t get stolen and you don’t have to process them or put a spine label on them,” he said. “So from a cost standpoint, it’s nice.”

The library also offers classes for residents called “Ebook University,” to acquaint new users to the readers and how to download from the library’s online catalog. The next class is Sept. 23 from 1 to 2 p.m.

Do you use an ebook? Do you think the trend toward downloadable books will continue? Comment below or email ahelhoski@thedailygreenwich.com.

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