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DC Public Library Offers MP3 Downloads

Mike Musgrove

The D.C. Public Library announced yesterday that it has a new online collection of audiobooks available for download in the MP3 format.

It's a first for a public library system, according to a statement from the system's chief librarian. While public libraries have offered audiobooks online before, the standard move has been to make those offerings available in a format playable on Microsoft's Windows Media Player software. That's not terribly convenient for people who want to listen to an audio title on their iPod. DC's new online collection is designed to be iPod-friendly -- for Windows users, anyway.

To use the service, users will have to download a piece of software called OverDrive Media Console. Right now, eek, that software is not available for Macs, but a Mac version is on the way, said George Williams, a public information officer with the D.C. library system.

The expectation is that users will delete the files after 21 days, the standard length of time for checking out a book, he said. A quick look at the service turns up plenty of beach reading: The service offers books by David Baldacci, Dean Koontz, and James Patterson, just to name a few of the familiar names among the authors with titles here. (I've also written about other sites such as where audiobooks are offered for free.)

"We want to make sure the public knows we offer an increasing collection on multiple platforms," said Williams.

By Mike Musgrove  |  June 27, 2008; 12:25 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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That's great but not a first, I think, as I have downloaded books to my mp3 player from the Richardson (Texas) Public Library. It was as quick and easy as saving a podcast.

Posted by: Rosie | June 27, 2008 7:45 PM

The initiative from the DC Public Library is excellent. But do you believe all the users will delete the files after 21 days, the standard length of time for checking out a book? The software companies when sell licenses of software for a period, they include an "expiration-date" control, plus special keys to make difficult the massive distribution of copies of these files. It will bad, the good initiative of the Library ended for the wrong ways.


Posted by: Domingo A. Trassens | June 28, 2008 10:02 AM

It's not even a first around here. The Montgomery County Public Libraries have had MP3 downloads for a while.

Posted by: Art in Olney | July 2, 2008 11:04 PM

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