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Westport Library Picked to Pilot E-Books

The Westport Public Library is one of 10 sites nationwide selected to inaugurate Freading (free reading), a system for checking out e-books, to begin later this year, the American Library Association (ALA) announced today at its annual meeting in New Orleans. 

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Westport was chosen to participate by Library Ideas, LLC, a Virginia-based film and media distributor. The system is based on its popular and successful system for downloading music through libraries, called Freegal. The announcement was at the ALA meeting by Brian Downing, co-founder of Library Ideas.

When Freading goes online, Downing said, it will offer 20,000 copyrighted titles from 16 publishers. The titles will use Adobe Digital Editions and will work on every major device except the Kindle.

With Freading, library patrons can download books for a two-week loan with a two-week renewal option, Downing said.

The library is charged for each download, with the cost being related to the age of the book.  A library would establish a budget for downloads, just as is currently done for adding books to the shelves.

Westport Library Director, Maxine Bleiweis said the plan is to give Westport Library card holders access to a specific number of e-book downloads per week, similar to the way card holders can now download three music tracks a week with Freegal. 

“The attraction of Freading is the ability to have multiple users simultaneously check out the same book,” said Bleiweis. “That hasn’t been available before. It’s also attractive to have titles available that don’t need to be paid for until they are used, increasing the options for library users.”

Some of the other libraries involved in the pilot are: Orange County, Florida Public Library System; the Free Library of Philadelphia; Arizona’s Maricopa County Library District; and Los Gatos Public Library in California. Westport is the only site in the tri-state region.

7 thoughts on “Westport Library Picked to Pilot E-Books

  1. Congratulations to Maxine and all at the Library for working to make this service available to Westporters.  As the publishing industry, in response to the market, produces an increasing proportion of works in e-book format, residents of our town will not have to miss out.

  2. My daughter will be so excited as she has been waiting patiently for me to buy her an ereader.  What month will it start?  Her birthday will be coming up.

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