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BCPL Launches New E-Book Lending Service

The 3-M Cloud Library System increases the number of e-books available through the county library system by about 400 percent.

Baltimore County Public Library debuted a new e-book lending service at its on Wednesday. 

The 3-M Cloud Library System allows county library card-holders to check out books through digital devices such as phones, computers and tablets. The Towson and branches also have terminals for customers to test out the service.

"It's about customer choice and convenience." said James Fish, director of the county library system. 

Patrons can participate in the lending service by downloading the free 3-M app, which will give them instructions and access to more than 2,500 titles. 

"[Baltimore County Public Library] was one of just a handful of beta test sites for 3M for this service," Fish said. "This will increase the number of e-books we have by about 400 percent."

County librarians have been testing and providing feedback on the service for about a year.

"It's really great," said librarian Jim DeArmey, who recently purchased his own tablet to take advantage of the service. 

Through his testing, DeArmey discovered that patrons can check out four e-books at a time, which expire after three weeks. The library system purchases copies of each e-book, and customers have the option to put their name on a hold list if a selection isn't available, similiar to the standard check-out method.

"It's a brave new world," Fish said. "We didn't want to push [the service] until it was ready, and there will still be things to work out."

Fish expects the service will be popular, but doesn't think traditional books are going away anytime soon.

"I won't be alive to see that," he said with a laugh. 

LJ Kirk September 05, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Your link is to itunes, which only works if you have a crapple device. What about the majority of ebook borrowers, who use Nooks, Kindles, Android, etc.?
Tracey September 05, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Just go to google play and download the version for android devices. Easy peasy.
Nayana Davis (Editor) September 05, 2012 at 10:01 PM
You can download the app for all those devices as well.
ITFred September 06, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Google Play Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.txtr.android.mmm&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS50eHRyLmFuZHJvaWQubW1tIl0.
RM September 06, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I'm curious how this is different from Overdrive? http://maryland.lib.overdrive.com. I guess it allows it for non-Kindle users it seems whereas Overdrive seems to be geared toward eBook readers.
Nayana Davis (Editor) September 06, 2012 at 01:27 PM
RM, my understanding is that 3-M can be used on more digital devices and there is a much greater selection available.
RM September 06, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Yep, that's what it looks like to me too. Overdrive is nice too (for those unaware of it) :)
Laura September 08, 2012 at 08:57 PM
downloaded the app, put holds on a couple of books, checked out another. It's incredibly easy to use -- that's one difference from Overdrive :)
Steve September 08, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I still need the tactile feedback that comes from a printed book. I have tried the Kindle I just can't get used to it.

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