2017-07-10: OP-ED: NH public libraries: Your local source to borrow downloadable eBooks and audiobooks2018-12-19T13:34:11-05:00


Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136
Twitter: @NHCulture

OP-ED: NH public libraries: Your local source to borrow downloadable eBooks and audiobooks

You know that you can borrow hardcover and paperback books from libraries. But did you know that most public libraries in New Hampshire also offer downloadable books that you can borrow and read or listen to on your tablet, eReader or smartphone, free of charge?

Through the New Hampshire Downloadable Books program, public libraries of all sizes offer their patrons a wide assortment of eBooks and digital audiobooks. These digital materials can be borrowed for two weeks and are available 24 hours a day, every day.

The NHDB collection includes more than 10,000 eBook titles and there’s something to appeal to readers of all interests, from popular fiction to mysteries to romance to just about any category you can imagine. And they’re not just for adult readers, either. Students will find New Hampshire’s “Great Stone Face” award nominees, Young Adult best-sellers and titles that may be on their school reading lists. Parents of pre-readers can even download read-along story books to their smartphones that narrate the story and highlight words as children follow along.

Some of the most popular downloadables aren’t the books that you read, but ones that you listen to, and there’s something for everyone here, too: in addition to best-sellers, you’ll find indie reads, thrillers, historical fiction, science fiction, current events and more among the 8,000+ titles in the downloadable audio collection.

Twenty public libraries joined the New Hampshire Downloadable Books program when the New Hampshire State Library began administering it in 2006; today, more than 200 libraries are part of the service. In the past year, New Hampshire library patrons downloaded an average of 2,523 items each week, up from 1,075 each week just five years ago.

People love downloadable eBooks for lots of reasons: some readers enjoy browsing for and then checking out books using their electronic devices; travelers on the go appreciate that eBooks mean they can have something to read but not something additional to carry with them; and others simply prefer holding an electronic device instead of a print book. EBooks are also adaptable, so if you have vision issues, you can easily change the size of the print and have a better reading experience. And downloadable audiobooks are extremely versatile: they can be enjoyed when reading a book isn’t possible, for example, while commuting to work, gardening, knitting or doing chores. Some audiobook fans simply like to hear a story come alive.

Buying an eBook can be almost as expensive as purchasing the print version, but downloading titles from a NHDB member library is always free for patrons, just like borrowing a print book is. And belonging to NHDB saves New Hampshire public libraries money, too, because they are joining forces make what is essentially a group purchase.

Want to learn more? Visit nh.overdrive.com to see what’s available, and be sure to visit your own public library to learn more about downloadable eBooks and audiobooks.

Michael York
State Librarian