Ribble Valley libraries move into e-books

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KEEN readers in the Ribble Valley can indulge their love of literature wherever they happen to be with e-books from Lancashire County Council’s library service – and it’s free. Julie Bell, libraries manager at the council, said: “E-books have exactly the same content as the paper versions but in a digital format.

“Library members with mobile devices such as smart phones, iPads and laptops can literally borrow an e-book on the spot, 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. Our website includes easy-to-follow instructions for downloading them, and if people haven’t got the software they need, they can download that, too.

“And don’t worry if you’re not already a member of the library. You can join online at any time of the day or night, or at any of our 74 libraries during opening hours. It’s still early days, but we have more than 1,300 e-book titles to choose from, together with 300 audio books, and the catalogue is growing all the time.”

Titles available cover a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, such as mystery, travel, humour, romance, science fiction and self-improvement. Bestselling authors include P.D. James, Graham Swift, Dick Francis and Anthony Horowitz.

There is also a great selection of fiction for young people, such as Michael Morpurgo’s “War Horse” and Eoin Colfer’s “Artemis Fowl” series.

Library members can borrow up to four e-books at a time and can choose to keep them for seven, 14 or 21 days. Unlike traditional books, there is no need to remember to return e-books. The file simply becomes inactive at the end of the loan period – so no more fines for overdue books.

Although e-books cannot be renewed in the same way as traditional items, people can simply borrow them again at the end of their chosen loan period, as long as no one else has reserved them.

Julie added: “Unfortunately our e-books can’t be downloaded onto Kindles at present. This is completely beyond our control and all UK public libraries that offer e-books are in the same boat, as are libraries in other countries.

“However, Overdrive, the US-based company who provide our e-book service, has now reached an agreement that allows Kindle users in America to download e-books from public libraries.

“This is a very encouraging step in the right direction and, together with many Kindle users here, we hope a similar UK agreement isn’t too far away.”

For more information and to download e-books and audio books, visit: www.lancashire.gov.uk/ebooks.