Downloading Books with iPods

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Question: My English students are reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Some of the students struggle with reading and would benefit from having the book read to them. I heard you can download books to your iPod from the library. Is this true?

The IT Guy says:
The answer is yes, sort of, sometimes, sometimes not.

Sorry to be so vague. Let me explain. Many public libraries do now allow you to "check out" digital audio books. If you have an account with the library, you can often go to their website and find a section for ebooks and downloadable audio books.

I checked our two local library systems, and they both use OverDrive and Netlibrary, two different but complimentary services. I randomly looked up a few other libraries around the country, and the same two services popped up in all of them.

Both services let you listen to a file for 21 days after it is downloaded. Both let you download the files to a portable player, but because they use the Windows Media file format, neither system will let you download to a Mac or to an iPod. Also, as of this writing, neither system has To Kill a Mockingbird in their collection. So yes, you can download books from your library, but no, you can't play them on your iPod, and no, you can't listen to To Kill a Mockingbird.

You aren't completely out of luck, however. There are other very affordable commercial services that are compatible with the iPod. The iTunes store has many audio books that you can download directly into iTunes, and Audible.com is probably the largest, but neither has To Kill a Mockingbird. However, they do have it at Simply Audiobooks, where you can rent or purchase iPod-friendly titles on CDs. It is $34.95 to purchase. As it is on CD, you will need to import it into iTunes before transferring it to your iPod. Good luck as you help kids discover this great classic!

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