How to Get Free eBooks at Your Library

Posted on 04/01/2013

Libraries are a valuable resource and there's no better time to rediscover the treasures available at your local branch than during National Library Week, which runs April 14-20 this year. More and more eBooks are being offered for free through libraries. In fact Penguin just announced a plan to ease restrictions on their eBook titles, now making them available for free through library lending. Getting your hands on free eBooks is easy as long as you've got a library card.

Most libraries use OverDrive to distribute their library of free eBooks. It's a company that connects publishers and books with library systems around the world. Currently they host more than one million digital titles from more than 2,000 publishers, although chances are the number of free eBooks available through your local library is much less.

Library Card
In order to access the free eBooks offered through your local library you must have a library card. If you don't have a library card, getting one is a free and simple process. According to you'll typically need two forms of identification such as a personal check, utility bill, mail with a current postmark or a Voter's Registration card.

Compatible Devices
If you've got an iPad, Kindle or Nook you should have no problem accessing free eBooks at your library. Most of the popular eBook reader devices on the market today are compatible with OverDrive. Check out the list of dozens of devices that are available for use with the OverDrive system.

Kindle Devices
More than 11,000 libraries in the US offer public library books for the Kindle, which is the most popular eReader on the market. To check out a book for your Kindle you'll need to start by visiting your local library's website. Once you choose an eBook you want to check out choose the "Get for Kindle" option to have it sent to your Kindle. You'll then be redirected to Amazon's Public Library Loan page to complete the process.

OverDrive Media Console
OverDrive Media Console as a free full-featured reading app. It's a way to enjoy both eBooks and audio books on your mobile device that you download for free from your local library's website. The app includes features like customization tools, bookmarks and a built-in dictionary. If you don't have a compatible device or you want to get the books on your computer this is another way to access them.

Returning Your eBook
Unlike with print books, you don't need to worry about getting a fine if you return a book after the due date. A few days before your eBook is due you'll get an email from the library. And once your loan period is up the book will simply disappear from your device with no fines to pay.

By Alison Storm

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