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Kindle users offered lessons on checking out electronic books

David Carlson of Willmar on Monday uses his laptop computer and Kindle during a class at Willmar Public Library that offered participants the chance to learn how to check out the library's more than 450 electronic books. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

Every innovation has its advantages and disadvantages. The online library th-at allows Willmar Public Library patrons to check out electronic books for their Kindle e-readers and other digital devices automatically returns the book when it's due, adult services library assistant Samantha TerBeest said.

"The bad thing is there's no renew option," she explained.

TerBeest held a class Monday about checking out the library's 458 electronic books.

The collection consists of mostly new titles like "The Help" -- which currently has 40 people waiting to check it out. The collection is growing, she added.

Like other e-readers, the Kindle, created by the online retailer Amazon, downloads electronic versions of books, newspapers, magazines and other publications.

Thanks to a special display, the Kindle is more like a printed page than a computer screen.

It uses less power too.

David Carlson of Willmar brought his laptop computer and his Kindle to the class.

"I've had a Kindle since they first came out several years ago," he said.

He uses it to read books and listen to them too. Rather than text, some digital books are recordings of people reading the text. Some Kindles have audio systems for such books.

It can also read aloud eBooks that come in the form of text, although the voice is somewhat flat and mechanical, Carlson said.

Either way, Carlson says he sometimes plugs his Kindle into his car's sound system and listens to books while he drives.

But borrowing e-books is a new experience for him and he was creating an online account during the class.

Theresa Lippert of Spicer also attended the class Monday. She's had a Kindle for about a year and is still learning how to use it.

Along with learning about borrowing eBooks, Lippert said she appreciates knowing there's someone like TerBeest available to answer questions.

"She looks like a good resource for trouble shooting," Lippert said.

Gary Miller

Born and attended public schools in Willmar, Minn. Served 20 years in U.S. Navy as a photojournalist. Worked at West Central Tribune since retiring from the Navy in 1994.

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