Several years ago the Ypsilanti Public Library starting offering its users access to downloadable audio books through a service called Netlibrary.com. Unfortunately that service was riddled with DRM that wasn’t compatible with anything but Windows computers and PlaysForSure media players. Anyone using an iPod or a Mac was out of luck. At least that service offered a choice of a couple of thousand titles and with a bit of tweaking the DRM could be stripped so that the files could be played on any device.
The library has now switched to different service that is apparently compatible with all platforms including iPods. Unfortunately, it is even less useful than the Netlibrary system. The service offers a grand total of 64 titles. That’s not a typo, it’s 64 titles. Loans are only available for one week at time and each title is only available to one user at a time. These are digital files, why are they only accessible to one person at a time? This is absolutely ridiculous. Why even bother to offer a download service with so few titles? It seems like a complete waste of time and money. If the library is not going to get serious about actually making downloadable content useful to patrons, it should just quit trying.