From the Beacon: Click, download, read: EBooks now available at Beaufort County libraries

EBooks are now available for checkout at Beaufort County public libraries through the new 3M Cloud Library. Customers can read eBooks on their iPhones, iPads, iTouches, Android devices, PCs, Nooks, Sony Readers or a variety of other devices. This intuitive interface makes checking out and downloading eBooks fun and easy. The "Cloud Library" enables users to read the same eBook on a variety of devices. Users can begin a title on one device, and then continue reading on another device. For example, one could begin reading Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" on an iPad at breakfast, read more on a computer at lunch and then continue reading on an Android phone while waiting for dinner to bake. The bookmark is instantly saved in the "cloud," allowing all devices to communicate with each other.

Many eBook titles are now available through the Beaufort County Library system. Fans of fiction will have plenty to keep them busy with titles by authors such as Nora Roberts, Toni Morrison, Michael Crichton, Pat Conroy, Steve Berry, P.D. James, Diana Gabaldon and even Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen. Nonfiction lovers can enjoy biographies, books on history, travel, weight loss, sports, cooking, self-help and much more. Study aids for the SAT, ACT, GRE and LSAT are also available for checkout. Titles will continue to be added as more publishing houses enter into the eBook market.

The 3M Cloud Library offers users the option to increase the text size of the eBook -- a feature especially handy for those reading on a smartphone. Users can even switch to "night mode," which turns the background from bright white to black, and turns the text white -- handy for night owls who love to read in bed.

To get started, download the 3M app to a computer or eReader device. Apple or Android customers must download the 3M Cloud Library from the Apple App Store or the Google Play/Android Marketplace. Users intending to read eBooks on their computers or other designated eReaders must first download the 3M application from eBook.3m.com. To log in, customers just need their library card number and SCLENDS ("My Account") password.

The process to read an eBook is simple: browse our Cloud Library collection online, check out the title (by selecting the green "check out" button) and download the eBook. Using an Apple or Android device makes this process easy and the eBook will be ready to read in a matter of seconds. Customers using a designated eReader (such as a Nook or Sony Reader) first download the eBook to their computer, and can then transfer the eBook to their eReader via USB cable.

Beaufort County Library cardholders can check out up to five eBooks at a time, and can also have five eBooks on hold at a given time. Books are checked out for 14 days, and then the eBook is automatically checked back in via the Cloud Library. Since eBooks are a relatively new technology, there may be a misconception in regards to how many copies of a title are available for checkout. Although the book is in a digital format and therefore would seem there could be infinite copies available for checkout, that is not the case. If the library purchased two copies of an eBook, only two copies can circulate at a time.

Customers are encouraged to contact their branch library reference desk for assistance. Visit www.beaufortcountylibrary.org for more information. Residents who do not yet have a library card are encouraged to visit their nearest branch library with proof of Beaufort County residency. Within a matter of minutes, new customers can enjoy the multitude of services available through our library system.