HAMPSHIRE library service has begun a new chapter in reading with a collection of 1,000 electronic books.

The downloadable literature means people will no longer have to visit a library to borrow a book. They can download a title and read it on a laptop or mp3 player.

County council chiefs say Hampshire is among the first ten local authorities in the country to embrace e-books, and aim to stock 6,000 e-books by the end of the year.

After two weeks on loan, the ebook will automatically expire and delete. This means there will never be any overdue fines to pay.

Officers say the e-books will be free for an introductory period. All the software needed to be able to download books and audio titles is available for free from the library website hants.gov.uk/library.