Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Discovering a New Resource
by Eric Petersen, IWW administrator

I'm currently enjoying a free Internet library service called NetLibrary.

If your local library is participating in this program, (most here in the US do, I don't know if it's offered in Canada or elsewhere) you can log into the site, enter your library card number (you have to have a valid library card from your local library) and set up an account. From the NetLibrary site, you can then download Ebooks and audiobooks.

The files are protected and will expire after the checkout period ends, which is three weeks from the date of download. After that, the files will no longer be useable and you simply delete them from your computer.

The audiobooks come in WMA (Windows Media Audio) format, with DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection. You can play them with the built-in Windows Media player or any other player that supports the WMA format and DRM licensing. I use Winamp. Much better sound quality.

You can download the audiobook files in CD Quality or FM Radio Quality. FM quality files are smaller for dial-up users. The drawback is that each audiobook comes in one WMA sound file. All the audiobooks offered are unabridged, so, if you download a title like Bram Stoker's Dracula, which is 17 hours long, you'll get a 17-hour long WMA sound file. So, be sure to use a WMA player that features bookmarking.

I think this is an interesting concept, being able to borrow books and audiobooks from the library without leaving your house. This may well be how all libraries function in the future.

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