San Antonio’s Bookless Public Library Takes A Page Out Of Apple’s Playbook

(Credit: Eric Gay / Associated Press)

(Credit: Eric Gay / Associated Press)

Want to know what a library created by Apple might look like?

A public library in San Antonio, called BiblioTech, has become the U.S.’s first bookless public library — letting patrons check out five e-books at a time either on their home devices, or using the tablets or one of the 48 iMac computers featured in the Apple Store-inspired library.

Founder Nelson Wolff, a former mayor of San Antonio, claims he was inspired after reading Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography of Steve Jobs, and the speed at which the late Apple co-founder was able to introduce new products.

Within a year, Wolff (who is in his seventies) managed to launch the library in poor part of San Antonio with limited Internet service. Initially there were 10,000 e-books available — which has since increased to 20,000.

Wolff says that he hopes to bolster the collection with an addition 10,000 e-books every month.

  • LikeARabbit

    I wonder what they are using to manage the checkin/checkout of ebooks? We recently explored the idea of loaning out ebooks/iBooks to our employees and maintaining a similar virtual library. Apple recently introduced better control over apps with their VPP program but the same control doesn’t roll down to iBooks yet.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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