Manchester's free digital library offer sees e-book lending boom

Loans of e-books and e-audiobooks in Manchester are booming, thanks to a free online service offered to the public by the city’s library service.

Although libraries are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of titles can still be accessed online, with e-books, audiobooks, magazines and daily newspapers all available.

In the first four weeks after the closure of libraries, e-book borrowing rose by 43 per cent, e-audiobook loans by 29 per cent and daily newspapers by 84 per cent.  In association with libraries across Greater Manchester, extra funding has been committed to increasing the range of digital titles available to readers.

A list of titles including some of the latest bestsellers and many much-loved literary classics is available to choose from via Borrowbox.  Even people who don’t have a Manchester library card can sign up online at Borrowbox to take advantage of this service (see Notes to Editors).

Manchester Libraries members can also access PressReader online.  The website offers more than 5,000 newspaper and magazine titles from more than 100 countries, in over 60 languages - all for free.  Read a newspaper or magazine in its original or screen-friendly format, print articles, listen to audio narration and translate content from around the world in up to 17 languages.  All national UK newspapers are included in the service.

Members can also read full digital copies of magazines for free from their computer, smartphone or tablet, via the RB Digital service.  Around 100 magazines are currently available, covering everything from food to computers and music to art.  Titles include Hello!, BBC Good Food, Amateur Photographer, BBC Top Gear, Radio Times and Cosmopolitan.  Members can borrow an unlimited number of magazines, to keep for as long as they need.  Access RB Digital on your computer, or download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play.

Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “Although they cannot open their doors for now, our libraries are still very much there for Manchester residents and it’s heartening to see this boom in the use of our digital services.  

“Whether it’s for the pleasure of a great story, to learn something new, or to entertain our children, reading is one of the best things we can do to boost our mood.  We’re investing in increasing the range of titles which are available digitally to make sure there’s plenty on offer for Mancunians, until we’re able to welcome them back to their local library in person.”

To find out more, go to www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries.

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