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How to download audio books from the library
Books on tape are now available to anyone with a home computer and the right library card in the bay area.
By BRIDGET HALL GRUMET
Published September 11, 2005
To download a digital book, go to the Tampa Bay Library Consortium's online collection at:
You must have a library card from one of the following public library systems: Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative, Pasco County, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, East Lake, Largo, Palm Harbor or Safety Harbor.
Using a new database launched by the Tampa Bay Library Consortium, people can download audio books to their computers, then transfer the digital files to some MP3 players or burn them onto CDs.
The download is free. People can get the books any time without leaving home. And there's nothing to return, so there are no late fees.
"We all love audio books, and everybody has an MP3 player now," said Dianna Sachs, the consortium's member services coordinator. "This seemed like a natural progression from the books on CD that all libraries traditionally carry."
The 300-book collection includes the classics, such as Homer's Odyssey and Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, as well as modern bestsellers, such as Dean Koontz's Cold Fireand Nora Roberts' Birthright. There's even Dr. Phil's Getting Realand Dave Barry's Boogers Are My Beat.
As with regular books, once someone checks out a digital book, no one else can use it.
The publishers insisted on that arrangement for copyright reasons, Sachs said.
"It follows the traditional library model: You have one book and you can lend out one book," said Dianna Sachs, the consortium's member services coordinator.
The digital book stays on the user's desktop for seven days, then disappears from that computer and becomes available again on the consortium's Web site.
That gives users a weeklong window to transfer the book to an MP3 player (but not an iPod, which has incompatible software) or burn it onto CDs.
The books are divided into smaller digital files that fit nicely onto CDs.
A typical novel fills nine or 10 discs.
For people with high-speed Internet access, downloading a book can take as little as 15 minutes.
The digital book collection is a cooperative effort of eight library systems: Hillsborough County, Pasco County, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, East Lake, Largo, Palm Harbor and Safety Harbor.
Manatee Community College will join the group soon, Sachs said.
Each one is chipping in $4,000 a year for the collection. Sachs said the consortium hopes to add more titles in the future.