updated 6/13/2005 9:56:41 PM ET 2005-06-14T01:56:41

A little Melville for your MP3 player? Tom Clancy for your computer?

The New York Public Library announced Monday that it is making 700 books — from classics to current best sellers — available to members in digital audio form for downloading onto PCs, CD players and portable listening devices.

"We are delighted to announce the availability of downloadable audio books as part of our circulating collection," said Susan Kent, director and chief executive of the branch libraries. "Library users today are much more technologically sophisticated than ever; our aim is to continue to provide our users with free access to materials in whichever format they prefer."

The service started Monday. Users can listen to digital audio books through a computer, burn them to CDs or transfer them to many portable devices, library officials said.

Digital audio books are available for free to members through the library's Web site. Users can borrow up to 10 digital books at a time, and after 21 days the materials will be automatically checked in and made available to others.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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