The downtown San Diego Public Library is just a tip of the iceberg in the book world these days. Where library shelves still feel the weight of pages of information, a computer inside displays virtual rooms full of digital reading.
"You know, we have patrons who aren't even used to using the physical library branch, they're just using their e-books," said Robyn Gage with the San Diego Public Library.
And the more people are buying e-readers or receiving them as gifts the higher the demand for digital books. While many people are unaware that the library now checks out digital copies, demand is up nearly 300 percent since last year. And that is growing even higher now that the library now has an agreement to add the popular Kindle in the library download list.
"You know it is opening the world to other people who didn't really think of using the library for electronic materials," said Gage.
To meet this new digital demand, the San Diego Library is is even offering free clinics to teach people how to use their new e-readers.
"A lady showed up who had just bought a Kindle never used it before," said Ryan Traylor with the San Diego Library, "We showed her how to use it and got her started."
Even electronic books have due dates. After three weeks, digital downloads are no longer accessible on e-book readers unless you can renew the title. But that's not possible if someone else is waiting for that electronic book.
So for every new title, the library is now buying both paper and electronic versions. There may be a wait but you can't beat the price. Like all library books, analog or digital, it's free.