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Hernando County libraries to loan out Amazon Kindle e-reader devices

BROOKSVILLE — It's not difficult for Miguel Quiros and April Kelly to rattle off the benefits e-readers have over traditional books.

They're small and light. They're easy to navigate and less cumbersome than books. They provide a huge number of titles at the click of a finger.

Then there's the more unusual reasons:

"You don't have to fold any corners," Kelly said.

They're just the audience the Hernando County Public Library System has in mind.

Beginning Monday, county libraries will take their first tentative step into the world of digital book checkouts by providing 24 Amazon Kindle e-readers for customers to take home.

"I think that's pretty good for the county," said Quiros. "I think that's awesome."

The 24 e-readers will be spread across the library system's five branches.

"There definitely is a demand for the library to move forward with e-books and e-reading," library spokeswoman Amelia Anderson said. "A lot of people are curious about what it can do."

The e-readers are not completely new to the library system.

The libraries already offer e-books and audio books for customers to download onto their personal devices. The different branches also host popular classes on how to use e-books and audio books.

But Hernando County is still very much in the get-to-know-you stage with these devices.

"We're seeing it is something that other libraries have explored and done successfully," Anderson said. "We feel pretty strongly that our users are going to appreciate the service.

The Kindle e-readers available for checkout are limited just to reading.

Although the $70 devices can hold more than 1,000 titles, the library will — at least initially — limit the number of titles to a set of about 30. Readers won't be able to add titles.

"For now, they'll come with this set," Anderson said.

There will be classics and bestsellers for adult readers, Anderson said. They'll have A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin and Have a Little Faith: A True Story by Mitch Albom, as well as the complete works of Plato and Mark Twain, among others.

People will be able to check out the Kindles for 14 days, with no renewals allowed. There will be a $5 late fee per day up to $25.

The devices come in a bag with a case and charger. Before anyone can check one out, they will have to sign an agreement approved by the county attorney's office.

It will cost $300 to replace a Kindle if someone fails to return one. The total replacement cost for everything is $345.

The Kindles were purchased using money from a recent bequest to the library system.

While some at the West Hernando/S.T. Foggia Branch Library on Friday afternoon had never used the devices, most were excited about the plan to check out e-books.

Karen Bohn, 47, of Spring Hill said she thought the e-readers are great — for some people.

"Quite honestly, when it comes to books, I like to hold them," Bohn said.

With that noted, she said, "I'm game to try.

"I might — just to see what it's like."

While watching her 3-year-old daughter play in the children's section, Celeste Valadez said the devices would be a convenience.

She said carrying home a lot of books is difficult to do while she's trying to handle her daughter, the car seat, diaper bag and everything else.

"There's no need for a big bag," Valadez said.

Not all want to go digital, though.

Richard Rupe of Brooksville said he had no desire to try out an e-reader.

"Anything with computers, I don't mess with," the 53-year-old Rupe said. "I don't like computers."

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432.

Hernando County libraries to loan out Amazon Kindle e-reader devices 09/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, September 28, 2012 8:13pm]

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