Apple (AAPL) analysts have been fretting for years over decelerating iPod sales. The public library system may be about to help.
Library administrators in Arizona, for example, have introduced a popular new program, one of thousands like it across the country, that allows participants to download e-books, audiobooks, songs, and videos free of charge. The programs have become incredibly popular. Reuters:
Once discovered, says Tom Gemberling, the electronic resources librarian for the Phoenix Public Library, the program often proves wildly popular.
Not long ago, Gemberling visited a local trailer park to speak about the program to 100 or so seniors — who regularly travel the roads touring in their recreational vehicles.
“They were cheering and screaming by the end,” he said. “They were so excited. They’re RVers, so they can go anywhere on the road, find a computer, go into the Phoenix Public Library catalogue, download a book and play it while they drive down the highway.”
So how does the system work? Like iTunes, except free. The catch is that the file deletes itself from your hard drive after a week or so:
First you need a library card, access to the web, and some easily downloadable software — the Adobe Digital Editions, the Mobipocket Reader or the OverDrive Media Console.
At that point, just browse around the library’s website, select some titles, add them to a digital book bag and click the download button. If the title isn’t available, it can be placed on hold for downloading later.
Depending on the library and title, the item remains on your computer for one to three weeks before disappearing, meaning you don’t have to bother with returning a book, CD or DVD to the actual library.
In addition to storing the files on your PC, you can also transfer them to a number of supported mobile devices, including iPhones and iPods.
So will these new digital lending programs spur an entirely new segment of customers to buy iPods and iPhones? Probably not, but it’s nice to know that there’s a reason to go to the library again.
Sony Corp’s Reader, SanDisk Corp’s Sansa, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Blackjack, Palm Inc’s Treo 700wx, Motorola Inc’s Q, Microsoft Corp’s Zune, iRiver’s 510, Hewlett-Packard Co’siPAQ, Dell Inc’s Axim, Creative Technology Ltd’s ZEN, AT&T Inc’s Cingular Smartphone, and Apple’s iPhone and iPods can all be used with the downloads, depending on the title and the library.
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