New e-book program brings Lake Elmo Library users 20,000 titles

The Lake Elmo Library’s new e-book system brings patrons like these children access to about 20,000 more titles on their devices. (Gazette File Photo)

A new system called Freading was recently introduced to the Lake Elmo Library to give users access to about 20,000 more titles.

The new investment cost $150 to start up and will charge the library another 50 cents to $2 each time a library patron checks out an e-book.

“We chose this system because it was one that I had experience with at another library,” library director Linda Orsted said. “The library board has e-books on their long-range plan as well, and we figured that this Freading product was a good way to start. It’s less expensive than other vendors.”

To check out e-books, patrons must purchase a library card and get an app for their reading devices.

“It just seems to be a growing market, and in the last three months we’ve had more people ask for them,” Orsted said. “As more people have these devices, they are more willing to try it and see if they like it. A lot of people still love the feel of the paperback, but a lot of people are like me too, where I don’t want to carry all those paperbacks with me in my suitcase when I go on vacation.”

The Freading system, though it provides 20,000 titles from a variety of publishers and genres, only works with devices that have access to the Internet.

Freading has its own apps for the iPad, iPhone and Android tablets and phones. It works with Kindle Fire, the Nook devices and Kobo devices. The original Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite don’t work with it.

To access the app and the system, a user only needs a Lake Elmo Library card.

Multiple people can download the same books at the same time, so people don’t need to wait for checkouts to be returned, and as far as Orsted knows, there doesn’t seem to be a time limit to keep the books on your e-reader.

The library itself is charged per book once they are checked out and downloaded.

The library does have a weekly limit for people to download books.

“We have a system called tokens,” Orsted said. “We have a system set up for 10 tokens a week per user. A new book costs one to four tokens, depending on the publisher and how new the book is.”

Overall Orsted is excited to expand in a variety of ways to serve the library.

“We’re excited to expand, and I really hope people like our new service,” Orsted said.

This e-book system followed the installation of another e-book service geared toward children and young adults called TumbleBooks, which provides graphic novels and suits those just learning to read.

“(TumbleBooks) is nice for kids who are just learning,” Orsted said. “There’s a technology that has the words light up as the child reads. It also has graphic novels and chapter books.”

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Contact Avery Cropp at [email protected]