Today our mobile devices can do so many things. And with so much storage on these devices and now cloud storage, holding large amounts of data isn't difficult, including books.
Technology tries to make our lives easier and in many ways it succeeds. Having multiple books on a small screen sounds very neat. Even the libraries have jumped on board by giving residents the opportunities to download e-books to their devices and computers.
Both Blue Earth County and North Mankato Taylor Libraries offer e-books. You can download an e-book from the library any time or day of the year through apps or the Internet.
Lucy Lowry, Director of Taylor Library says "We are big proponents of new technology here. In fact we are just going to be announcing that we'll have downloadable magazines as well as e-books and downloadable audiobooks. We try to stay at the forefront of what's going on."
E-books have a ways to go before they threaten to close down libraries. The libraries have contracts with companies that provide electronic versions. Taylor Library has a contract with Overdrive, Blue Earth County with Traverse des Sioux Library System. These companies provide the books and deal with the publisher. Each system has limitations set in place for how long you can have a downloaded title and for how many versions can be checked out at once. The ecosystem that you have also depends on your choices. A book may be available for the Kindle, but not for the Nook, and other tablets. It is also expensive, when a library purchases a book in paper, they don't get a free electronic version.
Tim Hayes, Director of Library Services at the Blue Earth County Library says, "E–readers hasn't hurt our readership at all. In fact we checked out more paper books this last year than we have in previous years so the nice thing is people are reading whether it's a regular book or an e–reader there's a lot of good material out there that people are finding interesting, picking up a good book or e–reader and enjoying it."
Taylor Library has 55,000 books available for checkout and 3,500 e–books. E–books make up about 2.5% of Blue Earth County Library's total circulation and offer classes for Kindle and Nook users.