Bartow County readers who are fans of eBooks can celebrate their favorite way to read with other fans around the world this week.
International Read an eBook Day, an annual day set aside to celebrate and raise awareness about reading on digital devices, has been planned for Friday, and the Bartow County Library System is asking its patrons to participate.
“We wanted to participate in Read an eBook Day because we love our digital book collection and love helping patrons discover all the new books they can have access to day or night, right on their smartphone or tablet,” said Adult Services Coordinator Amanda Monson, noting this is the first time the library has participated in the event. “If you’ve been thinking about exploring our digital collection, Read an eBook Day is a great excuse to start. Feel free to stop by the library, and we can help you get set up.”
Bartow library patrons have access to more than 2 million eBooks, audiobooks and other digital content from more than 5,000 publishers through digital distributor OverDrive. With just a library card and an Internet-connected computer or device, including iPhone, iPad, Nook, Android phones and tablets, Chromebook and Kindle, readers can access eBooks anytime, anywhere by visiting http://gadd.lib.overdrive.com, according to OverDrive’s website.
For Read an eBook Day — called a celebration of modern storytelling — readers around the world are encouraged to take part in the largest digital reading event by choosing from the free eBooks from their local library.
Users also are asked to share what they are reading and how they are celebrating on social media and to join the #eBookLove conversation. Readers can use the hashtag on Facebook and Twitter to tell their story and share their love of eBooks or comment directly at www.readanebookday.com.
“We’re encouraging our patrons to check out an eBook on the 18th, and, if they have social media, to post what book they’re reading and where with the hashtag #eBookLove,” Monson said. “We will have postcards available at the circulation desk this week for patrons to write what book they’re reading and post a photo of it on social media as well.”
The popularity of eBooks has skyrocketed in recent years, with library patrons taking advantage of the technology and popular titles available to them through their local library.
According to OverDrive, readers have borrowed 94.7 million eBooks and audiobooks through July 2015, a 24 percent increase over the same period in 2014.
As of Wednesday, Bartow County library patrons have checked out 21,028 digital books since January, Monson said.
“We do keep track of the number of eBooks and eAudiobooks checked out and love to watch as that number climbs,” she said.
Digital books offer a good alternative when traditional physical books aren’t practical or available.
“eBooks are popular because they offer convenience and fast access,” Monson said, noting patrons of all ages use and enjoy them. “You can read a book on your phone while you wait in line or for an appointment. You can check out a book late at night when the library is closed. You can take a stack of books on a trip, and they all fit in your hand. And because eBooks disappear when they’re due, there are no late fees.”
Read an eBook Day falls in the middle of Library Card Sign-Up Month, a time when the Bartow County libraries join the American Library Association and public libraries across the country to make sure that every student has a free library card.
To sign up for a card, visit any library branch.
The library also provides access to Flipster, a digital newsstand that gives free online access to many popular magazines that can be read on a computer or tablet. Readers can find the link to access these magazines on the Bartow library website at www.bartowlibraryonline.org.