October 15, 2012

Winthrop considers e-reading service

Kennebec Journal Staff

Richard Fortin, director of Bailey Public Library in Winthrop, said he is looking into a using an e-book service called Axis 360 from Baker & Taylor. At its current pricing structure, he said, 3M's Cloud Library is too costly for Bailey.

The library's patrons already can check e-books out through Maine InfoNet's Overdrive system, as is true of most other Maine libraries. However, Fortin doesn't like the system because only one person in the state can check out a copy of a particular e-book at a time. He said people often can't get the e-books they want.

"If I put myself in the patron's shoes, you should be able to just log in and borrow an e-book," he said.

With Axis 360, he said, the library would buy individual titles with no limit on how many people can use them at a time. Fortin said older, classic novels cost around $10, while popular new releases usually cost $50 to $60. How many the library would buy depends on the demand for titles, he said. Fortin said they usually receive around 4,000 requests for new printed books each month versus around 200 for e-books.

"The demand just isn't big enough to warrant me to do any dramatic shifts with funds. That's why things like 3M have been a little out of reach for us," Fortin said.

He said his only problem with Axis 360 is it doesn't support Amazon Kindle devices yet.

-- Staff Writer Paul Koenig

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