The Kitchigami Regional Library System has launched the 3M Cloud Library eBooks service to all Kitchigami cardholders on September 20th. The new service can be found on the Kitchigami webpage at http://www.krls.org.
The 3M Cloud Library is a new way for users to borrow e-books on most devices -- iPad, Android smartphone, Kindle Fire, laptop -- simultaneously for up to two weeks. Jolene Bradley, branch manager at the Brainerd Public Library, says, “Libraries will always be about reading. The thing that has changed over the years is the format. People are now reading on phones, tablets, eReaders and computers. Reading isn't only about physical books anymore. This will bring our customers a higher level of access."
An exciting feature of 3M's Cloud is that it does not limit a downloaded book to one device. Library cardholders with multiple devices can read their books on any of them -- home computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, for a 14-day period. The book will even reopen on your iPhone at the same page you stopped reading it the night before on your Nook! Detailed directions for downloading books to various devices are available from Kitchigami’s new downloadables webpage:
Many devices are compatible with the new 3M Cloud Library including: PC (running XP or higher), iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android-based tablets or smartphones, Nook, KindleFire, and other eReaders such as Sony, Kobo, Pandigital, and Literati.
The collection will initially contain around a thousand items, with more being added weekly. Customers will notice that many of their favorite authors are available, and some very popular authors that are not. Unfortunately, some publishers are simply not selling their e-books to libraries, fearing that free and easy digital availability will cut into sales. As the market is rapidly evolving, libraries hope that publishers that currently do not make their books available will jump on board in the future.
Cloud Library copies will only be made available to one reader at a time -- just like a physical book. If the reader doesn't return it before the two-week period ends, it automatically moves on to the next person in line to borrow it. Cardholders are limited to checking out five e-books at any given time, but may place holds on up to ten books that they are interested in checking out. They will receive a message on their Cloud Library account when the item is available.
All of this is obviously good news for tech-savvy book lovers. But Cloud Library should also provide a benefit to print users as well. With the addition of eBooks, high demand print items may see shorter hold lists as users choose the format that best fits their needs. In addition, as the size of print may be changed, all eBooks are in effect also large print books, freeing up large print copies for browsing customers.
All of the excitement surrounding eBooks does not mean that libraries are decreasing their print collections. Bradley says, “We know that not everyone is an eBook user, and we’ll continue to provide the same print offerings that we always have. The goal of the Cloud Library service is to expand our customer base, and hopefully bring some eBook users in the area back to the library!”