Thursday, September 22, 2011

On libraries lending Kindle books

Yesterday was a big day of news on the Internet. Facebook rolled out wildly unpopular changes, Pandora changed its interface, and Amazon quietly rolled out Kindle book lending from libraries (a mere one day after news broke it was testing it at Seattle public libraries.)

I adore my Kindle and prefer reading on it to reading in print, so the availability of another way to access some Kindle books is amazing. (I still love ebook fling, but I don't often have luck getting access to the titles I want--often due to both publishers not allowing loans).

Here are a few things to know about borrowing Kindle books from your library:

1. If your library has a title as an e-book, it now has it available for the Kindle.
I used to dread seeing e-book titles available in my public library catalog because I knew they weren't Kindle compatible. Blessedly, instead of having two different e-book collections (one for Kindle format and one for epub), it's all the same. It's lovely and as non-confusing as possible. The downside: libraries were blindsided by this change, so there will likely be long waiting lists for titles as they figure out what the demand is and explore the feasibility of adding more licenses.

2. You check out from the library but access the title through your Amazon account.
It's a two-step process. You must check out the title through the library's website. Once you have, there's a link to "get for Kindle," which takes you to Amazon. The perks: if you check out the book again later (my library, for example, is only allowing 7-day checkouts. For some titles, you may want to check them out twice) or decide to purchase it, all of your highlights and notes are still there (the same is true for Kindle books you borrow from another user.) Also, going through Amazon allows you to read the title on a variety of devices.

3. You don't have to have a Kindle.
Kindle library books work on any of the apps, so you can read on your iPad, phone, computer or the Cloud reader.

4. Titles won't be delivered with 3G.
If you have a 3G Kindle, as I do, you'll have to transfer it to your Kindle via USB. If you have a Wifi Kindle, you can send it to your Kindle. You can transfer to any of the apps.

Happy Kindle reading! Questions? Leave in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer them.


  1. Oh, finally. I mean, I don't have a Kindle but one of the reasons I never wanted to buy one was because there was no library option. Amazon has finally made the right move and though it's a bit late to convince consumers like me (still annoyed about the DRM thing), they might just succeed in drawing in some new customers. Amazon, I tip my hat.

  2. I think this is a really neat idea and a big step forward, so I am excited about it. I will probably never use this though, as I have a lot of books of my own to read, and having them only available for a limited time while they are checked out kind of hampers things for me. It might be perfect for those times I need to read a book for a book club though, now that I am thinking about it. Thanks for sharing how this all works. I had heard the news but was kind of clueless as to how it worked.

  3. I am crazy excited about this too. I spent about an hour yesterday exploring the whole system and figuring out how it worked with my library. It's not the simplest of systems, but I'm just grateful they're doing it. I've officially checked out my first book and already have it on my kindle. Yay!

  4. This is exciting news so I'll have to try it for myself. I don't like the 7 day limit you mentioned; I thought ours were 21 days, but that could have changed. Thanks for the info Carrie.

  5. It's not quite ready at my library yet, but I do like the idea of being able to sync across devices. However, the usb bit will be something of a pain. Exciting, though, nevertheless!

  6. It's neat they've finally done this! I have a Sony Reader, and while I don't love it more than my print books, I've been using it more lately. I love being able to check out ebooks from the library. Glad that service is available to more people now!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!