E-book retailer Fictionwise, Inc. has announced the launch of Libwise, a product that allows any library or group to field a completely outsourced, automated e-book-lending Web site. Libwise lets patrons download borrowed e-books to their personal computers or such hand-held devices as Palm, PocketPC, WinCE, Psion, and some Nokia cellphones. E-books are read using the free Mobipocket reading software.
Steve Pendergrast, co-founder of Fictionwise, said: "Libwise allows anyone--from a traditional public library to a corporate library or even an author fan Web site--to loan e-books to their membership using a customized Web site branded by the library. Setup is simple, taking as little as an hour, and all hosting and customer support is handled by Fictionwise for a low monthly fee. No technical expertise is required."
According to the announcement, a Web site powered by Libwise can be set up, hosted, and fully supported by Fictionwise for as little as $29.95 a month.
Borrowers can read the e-books during a checkout period that the library can configure from a few days up to a few weeks. Afterwards, the e-book file expires and becomes available for the next patron to borrow. The patron interface is accessible through any industry-standard Web browser and can be customized to look just like another part of the library's general Web site.
"Libwise provides library staff with a powerful administrative console' said Pendergrast. …