Maybe everyone else has been doing this forever, and if so, feel free to skip ahead to the Punderdome post. But if you haven’t partaken of the Brooklyn Public Library’s eBook catalog, you’re missing out on the deeply satisfying experience of enjoying free — not to mention spooge-free — books without leaving home. I just downloaded my first free-for-14-days BPL eBook, a buzzy new non-fiction release, minus the groady plastic cover and burrito drippings. (I can’t say what title it was because I’m Facebook friends with the author and only a total cheapass doesn’t buy their friends’ books.) To read BPL loaners on a mobile device, you have to download either the Kindle or the OverDrive reader app, which is to brand-name readers as Coby electronics are to Sony. I’m not exactly sure if or how you return the books, but I can let you know in 13 days. UPDATE: Commenter Cathmary12 says the books simply disappear at the end of the loan period, so that can only mean no overdue fines accrue. Could this get any better?
What’s more, there are plenty of hot, current reads among the catalog’s 20,000 titles. As a random exercise, I went looking in the BPL catalog for Barnes & Noble’s top 10 bestselling fiction titles. (We all know you n+1 snoots don’t care what B&N readers buy, but I’m hardly going to plug in some indie bookstore’s list and stick it to them in this post.) Some books had waiting lists — kind of cute that the library makes you get in line to download eBooks — but in terms of titles, the library went eight for 10 with B&N, minus the Island of Lost Girls and Immanuel’s Veins. Darn! The library also all kinds of films and videos one needs patience to peruse, like a random selection of TV series including WNET elephant specials galore and every episode of The Whitest Kids U Know. Anyway, have at it. That’s our shameless plug for hygienic, convenient and free eBooks and videos from a fine cultural institution we should all patronize. (You’re such a nice library!)