FROM FORT SMITH CHANNEL 5 LOCAL NEWS - Having your nose in a good book these days may actually mean you're staring at an electronic screen. 5NEWS went to the Fort Smith Public Library and U.A. Fort Smith to find out why customers and students alike are going with e-books.
"The response has been crazy. People love it," Fort Smith Public Library Director Jennifer Goodson said.
The Fort Smith Public Library in cooperation with seven other local libraries now offers a thousand audio books and more than 700 electronic book titles. Once you have your library card, you can download books via the world-wide-web without ever leaving home.
"Every month the usage goes up," Goodson explained. "So we see that it's catching on more and more people are finding out about it."
"Library-To-Go" allows you to check out up to three titles for two weeks at a time. Many people put them on their computers or laptops, but others have electronic devices that simulate an actual book like the Sony Reader or Barnes and Noble's Nook. It's important to check compatibility. For instance, Amazon's Kindle will only work with products from their store.
But library goers aren't the only ones loving the page-turning technology. U.A. Fort Smith sophomore Dustin Hilliard has two e-text books for this semester: intro to education and earth science.
"It's a lot easier to access," Hilliard said. "You can take notes in the e-textbook programs, highlight in them reference a note to that highlight and go back and look at it later. I type a lot faster than I write."
He says e-books also make for a much lighter load--that's two less heavy books to haul. Hilliard says the format is often cheaper and more efficient.
Some e-textbooks can be rented for the semester, and then they expire at the end. Many students lug their laptops to class anyway, and like Hilliard find it faster to type instead of taking handwritten notes.
Since April 2009 nearly 5,000 e-books have been checked out among the eight libraries. Audio books have been checked out 17,000 times.