Steve Svecz, a reference librarian at the Warren Trumbull County Public Library's main Warren location, said the countywide library system offers two e-reader services: OverDrive and Freading.
The individual services are paid for by the library and are available free to anyone with a library account.
OverDrive and Freading each have free applications available in the Android and Apple markets. Once the apps are installed, Svecz said each has a different way of offering "e-pubs" or books formatted specifically for e-readers, such as Kindles and Nooks.
Freading offers books on a token basis. Users receive a set amount of virtual tokens each week that can then be used to rent books. The "cost" of each book is determined by its popularity and demand.
Freading has an unlimited amount of copies of the books it offers. Freading also offers PDF files of books that can be read on computers.
OverDrive, on the other hand, has a limited amount of digital books, based on how many copies the library has purchased.
Svecz said an example is the book "Fifty Shades of Gray." The library initially purchased one digital copy for its OverDrive library, but as demand for the novel increased, the library purchased three additional copies.
Digital copies are nearly four times more expensive than physical copies for the library, Svecz said. The popularity of the library's online programs, which went live in the spring, has become so great that Svecz said the library is planning to triple its budget for e-books for the new year.
While downloading the apps to newer, more advanced e-readers and tablets is easy, according to Svecz, library members with older devices may need to go through a few additional steps involving downloading software to their computers and then transferring the e-pubs to their device. He recommends that if patrons need help with setup, they come into the library for assistance.
Svecz also said it is best to browse for books with the apps as opposed to searching for specific titles. This is because the books available are based on publisher agreements with the programs and, in the case of OverDrive, depend on the library's purchases over the last year.
He noted that one of the benefits with e-readers is that there are no late fees since the e-pubs are automatically removed from devices when they become due.
The Warren Trumbull County Public Library also offers Tumblebooks and BookFLIX, similar e-book services geared toward children, as well as audiobooks for mp3 players.
Newton Falls Public Library will hold a program to acquaint residents with the attributes of e-readers and tablets at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Newton Falls library uses Bookshare and OverDrive in cooperation with CLEVnet, a library system spanning the Cleveland area.