Library offering audio, eBooks on website

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Library System is meeting demands of customers by offering audiobooks and eBooks, downloadable from the library's website beginning Sept. 1.

Beaver Manufacturing donated $10,000 for the library to provide the service.

"Our patrons have been asking and we are very excited to finally offer this service," said Director Lace Keaton. "We would like to thank Beaver Manufacturing for their kind donation, which has made this service possible."

The new service, offered through Georgia Download Destination and powered by OverDrive, a digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, music and video, is free for patrons with their Newton County Library System library card.

Card holders can check out and download digital media by visiting www.newtonlibrary.org beginning Sept. 1. Users can browse the library's website and use their library card to check out and download books to their PCs, Macs and mobile devices.

Audiobooks will require that users install free software, OverDrive Media Console. To read eBooks, users will need Adobe Digital Editions. The books can also be transferred to a variety of devices, including Kindle, Nook and iPad.

Titles automatically expire at the end of the 14-day lending period. There are no late fees.

Because the system is a member of the Georgia Download Destination statewide library consortium, it received a lower rate through that organization versus purchasing the service itself, according to Keaton. The service costs $7,900 for the first year, which includes initial set-up and hosting fees, she said.

Patrons must have a Newton County Library System card in order to take advantage of the online service -- cards from other library systems will not be accepted.

While Keaton said she doesn't think the online service will reduce foot traffic at the libraries, "it will provide a wider range of options for patrons who have e-readers at home. It is a very popular service that our patrons have been asking for."

One free Kindle will be offered at each library location - the Covington branch, Porter Memorial and the Newborn Service Outlet. Entries will be accepted from Sept. 1 -30 with the winners to be drawn Oct. 1.