Free for mem­bers

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

Mem­bers of the Newton County Li­brary Sys­tem will have free ac­cess to 34 dig­i­tal ver­sions of pop­u­lar mag­a­zines.

Newton County Li­brary mem­bers will have free ac­cess to 34 dig­i­tal ver­sions of pop­u­lar mag­a­zines in 2014 thanks to a new part­ner­ship be­tween the li­brary sys­tem, RB Dig­i­tal and Zinio.

Be­gin­ning Jan. 1, li­brary mem­bers will be able to get free, un­lim­ited ac­cess to any of 34 mag­a­zine ti­tles – with more ti­tles ex­pected to be added over time – which can be viewed on com­put­ers, tablets and smart phones through Zinio, a com­pany that cre­ates dig­i­tal ver­sions of print mag­a­zines, in­clud­ing adding au­dio, video and other in­ter­ac­tive el­e­ments to some of the 5,500-plus mag­a­zines in its cat­a­log.

The ser­vice, called Zinio for Li­braries, is of­fered through RB Dig­i­tal, an arm of Recorded Books, which started out as an au­dio­book com­pany and now pro­vides a va­ri­ety of li­brary ser­vices. The Newton County Li­brary Sys­tem has an 18-month sub­scrip­tion to Zinio, which will cost the li­brary $6,317 for the 34 sub­scrip­tions and host­ing fees. The fee was paid with a dona­tion from the Porter Foun­da­tion.

Once the ser­vice is ac­tive, there will be a link for li­brary mem­bers to fol­low on new­ton­li­brary.org; staff mem­bers at the Cov­ing­ton and Porter Me­mo­rial branch li­braries and New­born Ser­vice Out­let will also be avail­able to help.

Though it’s un­clear ex­actly how the reg­is­tra­tion process will work since Newton County’s ser­vice is not up yet, li­brary pa­trons will likely have to go through a spe­cific process to get free ac­cess and are en­cour­aged to go to new­ton­li­brary.org to reg­is­ter. Once they are reg­is­tered, Zinio of­fers mo­bile apps, an app for Win­dows 8 and desk­top read­ers for PCs and Macs.

“One of the best fea­tures is that you don’t have to place mag­a­zines on hold like you do with e-books,” Li­brary Di­rec­tor Lace Keaton said. “As soon as the is­sue is avail­able on the web­site, you can down­load it to your de­vice, and more than one per­son can down­load the same is­sue at the same time.”

The abil­ity for an un­lim­ited num­ber of users to down­load a mag­a­zine is a huge boon to li­braries, which have strug­gled with ex­pen­sive fees to buy a lim­ited num­ber of e-book li­censes that can only be checked out by one or a few users at a time.

Another ben­e­fit of the Zinio sys­tem is that users have ac­cess to dig­i­tal mag­a­zines the same day the mag­a­zines’ print ver­sions come out.

When asked how the idea came about, Keaton said li­brary of­fi­cials are con­tin­u­ally mon­i­tor­ing “new de­vel­op­ments in our pro­fes­sion in or­der to pro­vide the best ser­vice pos­si­ble.”

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