Dear Jane: How do I check out electronic books from the library?
My library just started lending ebooks! Happy dance! What do I need to get this to work?
Short Answer: Library useage is a great way to dip your toe into the digital book world. You don’t have to have any special device to use the library digital lending program except for a computer with either MAC or PC software. You will need Adobe Adobe Digital Editions and you will need to “authenticate” that program. You will download a file from your library site called “URLLink” or something like that. Double click and your Adobe Digital Editions program should open and trigger the download of a book. These books will be readable for a period of time (usually 3 weeks) and then you won’t be able to access the book again.
Long Answer: Library digital lending programs are dominated by a company named Overdrive. Overdrive supplies digital audio and digital text books to libraries all over the world. Overdrive delivers digital books through your library, generally, in Adobe PDF and Adobe ePub. Sometimes there are mobipocket formats.
Many libraries offer the digital audio and fewer offer digital text. You can do a search HERE at the Overdrive site for libraries near you that offer digital lending services by entering your postal code. Or, if you want to find libraries that lend just digital books, Sony has a site HERE where you can enter your postal code and find libraries that lend digital books (the previous link gives you results for libraries that lend both audio and text downloads).
If you plan to do a lot of borrowing of digital books from the library and plan to read on a dedicated digital device, you will want a device that reads ePubs and PDFs. Popular digital readers that allow you to read your borrowed ebooks include the nook, Sony devices, and Kobo. The Kindle CANNOT be used with library programs. (I mean, you can but you have to obtain your PID and then download a script and run your mobipocket through the script to make it readable on the Kindle. This does not strip the DRM but modifies it. I have no idea whether this still works.)
Cleveland may no longer have LeBron James but it does have a robust digital lending catalog. It’s romance ebook section has nearly 6,000 titles.
The Sony eBook Library is a tool that helps you find a library near you that offers digital lending. For $8.95 per year you can access 750,000 books. Baen has offered up 75 eBooks for this library but the fiction is few and far between.
The Internet Archive is also digitizing copyrighted books and will then create a lending program for the digital copies. While publishers are anxious about digital lending and at least one, Macmillan (publisher of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Lisa Kleypas), refuses to allow digital lending, some current data shows that digital lending is leading to sales.