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Free e-Books at the Library!

Updated on December 9, 2012

FREE Ebook Lending

Check out this site for information on ebook lending from your local library:

A Great Tutorial for Kindle Users

Getting an Amazon Kindle for Christmas in 2011 really changed how I look at reading now. I hardly ever read a "dead-tree" book anymore and I eagerly scan to see what's new and how much the e-books cost. I was pretty surprised that recently released books are more expensive than I thought they would be (anywhere from $7.99 to $13.99). Older books are usually considerably less expensive and some are even free.

Having been an avid library user since I was a toddler (long, long ago), I was really excited to discover the availability of e-books at my local library. I went to their website and pored over instructions for checking out e-books.

My library participates in Tennessee R.E.A.D.S. aka Regional Ebook & Audiobook Distribution Program. Other cities and states may use different programs.

The first step in checking out an e-book from the library is that you must have a library card. This usually involves completing an application form and sometimes providing proof of residence.

To check out a book from my library, I go to the website and click on the "e-book/audiobook" button. Then I add my library card number and can begin looking for books using the search option. When I find a book I'm interested in, I make sure that it is available in the Kindle format and click on it to check out.

Often there are only a limited number of digital copies available in any given format so I have always had to put a "hold" on a book I would like to check out. Basically, this is like the waiting list for a dead-tree book at the physical library. Some books only have a few people waiting but one book I've been wanting to read for some time has me as number 63 out of 75 on a waiting list. It's a good thing I have plenty of other things to read right now!

When one of the books I have on hold becomes available, I get an email so that I can check it out. Following the prompts is easy and since I get books for my Kindle, they actually come from the Amazon website. I can check out up to 15 books at a time for three weeks each. When the three weeks are up, my book "goes away" from my Kindle.

How does it work?

Beginning in 2002, the OverDrive company began distributing e-books and audiobooks for libraries, schools and other venues world-wide. It has grown exponentially in ten years. This is the system used by my library.

If your library doesn't participate in lending e-books, check out OverDrive. It may work for you.

Note: There are also quite a few free titles on Amazon for Kindle readers, as I am sure there are for other e-book formats. It's worth checking that out, as well.

Do you use the public library as an option to get free e-books?

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