Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE the feel of going into the local library – checking out the new books, making a pile so big we can’t actually carry it, marking the day the books are due so we don’t get overdue fines. Regular library visits are also a great way to help kids reading, as kids are more likely to finish a book they picked out themselves (read more on that topic here).
Sometimes it can be challenging to find an after-school or weekend window for a family library visit and as we know, children can read books at a fantastically quick pace, becoming hungry for a new read! So what if there was a way to browse the library catalogue online, find a book your child likes, and have it right there, ready to read? BorrowBox is now available online or as an app you can download to your smartphone or mobile device, and it may just save the day. BorrowBox helps you download ebooks and e-audio books from your local library any time of day from anywhere. All you need is an email address, your library barcode and a PIN number.
Jan Herrmann, co-CEO of Bolinda audio books and co-founder of BorrowBox, explained to us that the best way to understand how BorrowBox works is to think of it exactly as you would a traditional library, only with e-audio and ebooks instead of physical books.
“How it works is that a library subscribes to Borrowbox and you just need to imagine it like a new branch. If you are a library member, you get a barcode and pin number and you go online, or download the app on your iOS device or your apple phone.”
It’s then as simple as logging in with your code and pin number, and you can access all the e-audio and ebook content that your library subscribes to. For most libraries that’s a lot of books.
“The average small library would have between three and five thousand audio and ebooks, perhaps more,” explains Herrmann. “While larger libraries might have twenty to thirty thousand books you can access via the app or website.
“It’s the same as loaning a book from a library. If someone else has it you can reserve it and get your copy when it gets returned. If you haven’t finished it after your loan period you can renew it, and if you finish it early you just return it and get another one.
If there’s a book that’s not available you can simply ask your library to order it and all this content is all free, just as it is from a regular library. It’s easy to find the books you want because you can browse only the categories that interest you or enter the author or title into the search function.
With many schools running BorrowBox, children’s books are hugely popular downloads and feature frequently in the BorrowBox top ten charts, with Herrmann naming the 65-Storey Treehouse series a perennial favourite.
While Herrmann acknowledges that there will always be some people who prefer a physical book and a physical library, there is room for both and it’s the convenience of audio and e-books that sometimes can’t be beat. “You can play a book on your mp3 player in the car or a CD in the car or if you go on a walk you listen to a book on your i-phone. Of course, sometimes you just want a physical book.”