SOURCE: OverDrive, Inc.

February 21, 2006 07:30 ET

Books on the Go: New Jersey Libraries Launch Audiobook Download Service

Cooperatives Offer a Free Alternative to Subscription-Based Downloads

PISCATAWAY, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 21, 2006 -- Library cardholders from 73 New Jersey libraries from Hudson to Ocean Counties have a new choice when it comes to audio downloads. www.ListenNJ.com, a digital audiobook site that allows library customers to checkout and download audiobooks with their library cards from home, is now available.

"In many ways, the library competes with for-pay information and entertainment services. Our new audiobook service allows us to offer our customers a free and legal way to get their digital media to go," says Cheryl O'Connor, Executive Director of INFOLINK, a regional library cooperative that helped sponsor the service. The audiobook downloads are compatible with most WMA/MP3 players, Pocket PCs, laptops and Windows® PCs. Many titles may also be burned to CD and used in car stereos and regular CD players.

Any library cardholder can download the digital book, or place a hold. Audiobooks are automatically returned to the system so there are no late fees. Many titles are "always available," featuring unlimited concurrent use. No trip to the library is required -- books can be downloaded from home or office.

The digital collection includes hundreds of popular fiction titles from authors like Nora Roberts, Lemony Snicket, Michael Connelly, and Elmore Leonard, with movie tie-ins such as the "Chronicles of Narnia," and radio productions from the BBC. Audiobooks in subjects such as business, self-improvement, history, and other non-fiction genres are also available for download.

"Our customers expect innovation from the library, and we're proud to bring it to them," agreed Connie Paul, director of co-sponsor Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative. "But it wouldn't have been possible without the participation of our member libraries."

Public, academic, school and special libraries from the two regions joined in funding the innovative program. Ms. Paul, a former school librarian, is especially excited that two school libraries are participating: "Downloading books from www.ListenNJ.com to MP3 players will give our teens a new way to read and be cool. What could be better than that?"

Central Jersey and INFOLINK Regional Library Cooperatives are funded through the New Jersey State Library, an affiliate of Thomas Edison State College.

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