Taiwanese airport's e-library adds a new option for bored travelers

Taiwan Taoyuan International became the latest airport to open a library last week, becoming the latest terminal to offer rental reading material as an alternative to the usual airport boredom-relievers of shops, bars and restaurants.

Travelers with time to kill at Taipei's Taoyuan International can now rent devices such as the iPad and other e-readers in what is billed as the world's first airport e-library.

Each reader is filled with approximately 400 works in Chinese and English across a wide range of genres, although the area also offers around 2,000 regular books and newspapers and magazines.

It's located near gate C5 in Terminal 2 and is decked out with special seating areas that offer pullout tables for laptops and cellphone chargers.

Last year, Amsterdam's Schiphol airport opened its own library, providing books, films and CDs for bored travelers in a staggering 29 different languages.

Though the library isn't a dedicated e-library like Taoyuan's, it does offer some iPads to play with, as well as a separate download room where visitors can load films that they like the look of into mobile devices to enjoy them on the plane or at home.

With the age of the e-reader firmly upon us, perhaps airport book lending will finally take off after a few false starts - as far back as 2003, Matsushita tested a pioneering e-book service at Tokyo Narita which allowed travelers jetting off to take one of the company's "Sigma" e-books with them, although the trial lasted only a few months.

For those who have never fancied the huge selection of thrillers and crime novels which tend to dominate bookstands at airports, the growth of such schemes and of e-readers as a whole is likely to be seen as a wholly positive thing.

If you like nothing more than opening up an easy read for a long-haul flight though, here are some of the best, as selected by Hudson Booksellers and TIME magazine in 2009:

1. Angels & Demons, Dan Brown
2. The Da Vinci Code
, Dan Brown
3. The Broker
, John Grisham
4. The Kite Runner
, Khaled Hosseini
5. Blink
, Malcolm Gladwell

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