Digital Bookmobile Tour Promotes N.H.'s Downloadable Book Program

Aug 28, 2013

The State Library is in the midst of a three-day Digital Bookmobile tour meant to educate people about downloadable e-books and audiobooks.

The tour stopped outside the Statehouse in Concord on Wednesday.

Peek inside the 74-foot tractor trailer, and you don’t see any books.

Instead, there are computers and video screens, with attendants who explain how to get your library books online.

State Librarian Michael York says New Hampshire’s Downloadable Book Consortium has been in place for seven years, and has expanded to nearly 200 libraries.

There’s been no shortage of interest among readers.

“The use from 2011 to 2013 has grown over 200 percent,” he said.

Anyone with a library card can borrow a book for free for two weeks, much as they would with a physical book. There are a limited number of copies for each book, with waiting lists for more popular titles.

Such programs have been a point of contention between libraries and publishers, but York believes it’s the best way to promote buying books.

“If somebody goes on here and they borrow a book and it goes away after two weeks and they’re halfway through, they’re probably going to buy the book. They’re not going to wait another period of time to borrow the free one again,” he said.

The tour began in Portsmouth on Tuesday and concludes with a stop at the Rodgers Memorial Library in Hudson on Thursday.