EBooks have been such a hit with readers that the Dakota County Library last week began allowing patrons to read magazines remotely, as well.

The library says it's the first in the metro area to offer e-Magazines, and for now it will limit them to Dakota County and South St. Paul Library card holders.

There are 150 magazines in the electronic lineup. Besides not having to come to the library for reading or checkout, the benefit of reading electronically is that copies are unlimited, everyone can check out the current edition and the magazines don't have to be returned. Once downloaded, readers decide when to delete them from their device.

"We are always looking for ways to offer our customers a mobile way to use the library," said Maureen Gormley, information services manager for the library.

"With the explosion of eBooks, it's fair to say that many people consume their leisure reading through a mobile device,  so we know we have a customer base that would find this attractive," Gormley said.

"The way public libraries circulate magazines is to have the current issue remain in the library until the new issue arrives. This means no one can ever check out the current issue, which is what everyone wants to do."

The magazines can be read from a home computer or other Internet device after downloading the free Zinio app into the Web browser and then clicking on the Zinio button on the library's website.

"Zinio for Libraries" is a new service that allows people to use their library card to explore popular magazines, Gormley said.

Using Zinio, readers can read magazines online and download them to mobile devices to read later. And if a magazine story has an e-mail address, the link will be live and the reader can connect with it by tapping the link, she said.

"Some publications -- National Geographic, for one -- have developed enhanced content, so if you are reading an article there might be a short 5-minute video they developed about the subject that will be embedded in the article," Gormley said.

The magazines available include Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, Cosmopolitan, Country Living, ESPN the Magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Family Handyman, Food Network Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart Living, Men's Health, Newsweek, Popular Science, Rolling Stone, Shop Smart and Weight Watchers.

Laurie Blake • 952-746-3287