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New York Public Library begins lending MP3 Audio Books over the internet

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June 14, 2005

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June15, 2005 The New York Public Library has launched a digital audio book collection allowing cardholders to download audiobooks from the Internet, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, further progressing the public’s embrace of portable audio and the convergence of media. The 700 title collection includes fiction, narrative nonfiction, business, biography, self-help, and language instruction which library members can play on portable devices, CD players, or via their PCs and laptops. Check-out is much faster than with real books and does not need a visit to the library after sign-up. NYPL cardholders simply enter in their existing card number and a 4-digit PIN. Up to ten digital audio books, or a combined total of ten e-books and digital audio books, may be on loan at one time. After 21 days, the materials are automatically checked in and made available for other users. And if the requested title isn't immediately available, users can place a hold on it and will receive email notification when it becomes available.

Available titles range from recent bestsellers such as "The 9/11 Commission Report" and "The Jane Austen Book Club" to classics such as Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights" and Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." Users may listen to digital audio books via computer or laptop; burn to CD for playing in the car or on stereo; or transfer to many portable devices, including Windows Media-compatible MP3 players. Digital audio books circulate for 21 days and are available for free Internet downloading 24-hours a day through the Library's website.

"We are delighted to announce the availability of downloadable audio books as part of our circulating collection," said Susan Kent, Director and Chief Executive of The Branch Libraries. "Library users today are much more technologically sophisticated than ever; our aim is to continue to provide our users with free access to materials in whichever format they prefer."

Borrowing Made Easy

In order to borrow digital audio books, users will browse or search the initial selection of 700 popular titles, ranging from romance fiction and classics to business, technology, biography, and language instruction. For example, some titles include "The Worst Case Scenario Handbook," "Pride and Prejudice," "101 Secrets of Highly Effective Speakers," "Dan Barry Hits Below the Beltway," and "Dr. Phil's Get Real." Check-out is fast and easy: NYPL cardholders simply enter in their existing card number and a 4-digit PIN. Up to ten digital audio books -- or a combined total of ten e-books and digital audio books -- may be on loan at one time. After 21 days, the materials are automatically checked in and made available for other users. And if the requested title isn't immediately available, users can place a hold on it and will receive email notification when it becomes available.

A Wealth of Electronic Resources

The launch of digital audio book circulation follows last year's highly successful launch of more than 3,000 e-book titles for circulation on laptops and PDAs. E-books have been borrowed more than 23,000 times since the program's 2004 launch, making The New York Public Library system by far the largest circulating collection of e-books in the country. In addition, the Library currently offers 70 full-text, searchable databases of reference works and more than 10,000 periodicals, an astonishing array of e-resources that is available to Library cardholders 24-hours a day.

The New York Library’s digital audio books have been licensed through OverDrive, using OverDrive’s digital rights management technology (DRM).

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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