E-books are perfect traveling companions

In the past, you'd never catch me out of town with a library book. The reason is simple: I feared losing books.

Some people fear snakes. I fear leaving a book at a Holiday Inn Express.

As a librarian, I'd feel guilty of a cardinal sin if I deprived someone of the chance to read a book because I lost it.

That situation has changed thanks to e-books and the thousands of e-book titles provided by the Cumberland County Public Library.

Now I can bring the library with me on the road without fear. Admittedly, I could still lose my e-reader but that's my own property, not the shared property of the citizens of Cumberland County.

With e-books, the worst that happens is my checkout expires without being able to finish my book.

When travelling, I now carry a simple black-and-white e-reader loaded with e-books from the library.

Although tablets are the hot thing on the market now, I have a soft spot for black-and-white e-readers. They're thrifty on batteries, narrow enough to slide into a stuffed suitcase, and capable of holding enough reading material for nearly any trip (even if that trip is a hike on the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail).

With a dedicated e-reader, I get the same feeling of being immersed in the text that I do with a book. I just find myself to be a little more distracted with tablets because they're capable of doing so many different things.

Other companies (usually the ones who manufacture your device) provide online bookstores where you have to pay for books. Many times these devices are manufactured at a loss or with very slim profit margins on the hardware. Those costs are made up for by content purchased from the manufacturer's online marketplace.

Many customers are surprised to find out that they have another option for e-books besides the manufacturer's storefront. Regardless of your device, at least one of our two most popular e-book services—North Carolina Digital Library and Axis360—will be compatible with it.

The library is happy to provide you with help accessing e-books from the library. We offer regular events on getting started with e-books throughout the year. The nearby West Regional Branch Library will be hosting one of these events Thursday at 7 p.m.

This event will show you how to get started with e-books on different devices. We'll walk you through downloading a book step by step. Bring your device and all your questions.

Please note that if this event inconvenient, you can call any library location to set up an appointment of up to 45 minutes with a library staff member to learn how to download e-books.

Happy travels—and reads!

—from The Sandspur, July 16, 2014