Thursday, September 29, 2011

Getting Books From The Library Just Got Easier Thanks To Amazon and Kindle

If you love reading, then you will love what Amazon has done for you! 


Now you can borrow books from your local library and read them on your Kindle device or the Kindle app for your tablet and smartphone!

Really?!?! Yes! OMG! How fantastic is this? Very!!!

FIRST, SOME BASICS
For the purpose of expediency, I’ll just use the term “Kindle” from now on to refer to whichever way you’re reading; the Kindle device itself or the Kindle app on another device like the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, or Droid and Blackberry smartphones.

Amazon.com has made it easy to borrow books from the library!

As a point of fact, there are other ways to borrow library books and read them in e-book format on your computer or smartphone than Kindle, but since this article is about what Amazon is doing with it, let’s stick to using your Kindle ready devices and app.

I’ll also work on the premise that you already have a Kindle device or the Kindle app on your smartphone and/or tablet, and an Amazon.com account. If you don’t, then you need to do this first. Why? It’s like knowing where to fill your car with gas, but if you don’t have a car, it kind of doesn’t matter.

The Kindle app can be added to your computer, tablet and smartphone

If you want to get the Kindle app, it’s free to download, so click HERE to acquire the app that’s right for your smartphone and tablet and download it for free.

You’ll also need an Amazon.com account. This will require that you sign on and create a password. This is a useful thing to have for a variety of reasons, but is necessary for the Kindle app to download books, either bought or borrowed from the library. To create an Amazon.com account, click HERE and sign in to start the process.


HOW DOES IT WORK?
First, you’ll want to check with Overdrive.com to make sure your local library is partnered with them for the delivery of ebooks via Kindle.

What's Overdrive? They’re a digital distribution company that works with, among others, your local library to make books, music, videos and audiobooks available to anyone, anywhere. Kindle has partnered with them to make library books available on their device and on their apps.

Once you’ve found your library, be sure to have your library card handy as you’ll need your membership number and ID available as there is a check-in process to avail yourself of this free service.

Next, you’ll need to be on an active wi-fi connection for the download delivery of your ebook. Once downloaded, you no longer need to be connected to read the book at your leisure anywhere you are.

Once you’re on your library’s page, you’ll be able to browse what’s available, just like you would if you were there, except it’s easier; you can enter a title or author in the search window, and up it pops.

Often, books that you want to borrow from the library are on a waiting list. This is especially true of best sellers. The same applies to this technology. (I don’t know why this is the case since it’s not a physical book, but I didn’t write the rules, I just go with them.) If there’s a waiting list, you can add your name to it by clicking on that line in the box.

If you want to find a book to download right now, you can click on the little box to show only books that are available immediately.

Another nifty thing is that if a book is one of a series, it will give you the number within that series so you won’t mistakenly start in the middle or end.

NOW WHAT?
After you’ve got all your accounts set up and squared away, and your device is connected on a wi-fi network, use your web browser to go to your library’s page (bookmark it for handy future reference), find the book you want to read, and follow the instructions to download it. You will automatically be redirected to your Amazon.com account. Click the “library” icon, and the book will automatically be sent to your device so you can open the book in the Kindle app.  Once the book is in the archive there, click on it to install it and it will load on your app’s home page so you can start reading.

If you have the Kindle app on other devices you can sync back and forth so you can read wherever you are. For example: typically I read books on my iPad in the Kindle app. But when I find myself out and about, let’s say at the car wash or a doctor’s office, and have time on my hands and I want to continue reading my book, I simply open the Kindle app on my iPhone. It will sync the book on this device to the last page that I was reading on my iPad so I can pick up where I left off. When I return home and pick up my iPad, the app will sync to where I left off reading on my iPhone, so I never lose a beat.

RETURNING BOOKS
Different libraries let you choose for how long you want to keep ebooks out; 7, 14, and 21 days. Three days prior to the end of the loan period you will be sent an email reminding you that the book is due back soon. On the “return by” date the book simply deletes itself from your app. No more late fees for holding a book too long. 

Of course, if you finish the book sooner, just as you would with a book you physically borrowed from the library, you should return it earlier so the next person waiting in line can read it. To do this, go to your Amazon.com account web page and click on “Manage Your Kindle.”


Now that you know how to do this, the biggest challenge will probably be finding the time to read so many books. I can help you with the tech part, but not this part. You’re on your own here. 

Happy reading! And if you come across a book you love, please let me know; I’m always looking for the next great read.


FOLLOW UP
What a luxury it is to not feel obligated to read a book through to the end!

This weekend, thanks to Amazon, I was able to electronically borrow e-books from the library, and if they didn’t completely engage me, I simply returned them, again, electronically, and felt no guilt or remorse whatsoever! That’s not the case when I’ve purchased them. I’d slog through, or worse, archive them and wonder when I’d ever return to finish them. Probably never.

I’m also able to borrow and download books that would be unlikely candidates for me to have purchased, and am thrilled to discover that many of them I liked and finished. Would I recommend them? Maybe not as they’d probably be too fringe or eclectic for others in my crowd, but some editor thought enough of them to put them through, so who am I to judge?

And on that note, I’m going back to where I left off reading a book about baseball! Go figure.



UPDATE: Sharing your e-books with friends

Here’s an interesting article filled with helpful information about how to share the Kindle e-books that are in your library with your friends. To read it, please click HERE.


UPDATE: If you want to download and read books that are instantly available and FREE, then you'll want to see this list and save it. Please click HERE.



The information contained herein is for guideline purposes only, is not intended as an endorsement of any product, and is no guarantee of the results.

Images courtesy of  Apple, Amazon.com, 

Copyright © The B. Hammil Company 2011

2 comments:

  1. Thank you, Beryn. Your instructions and directions are very clear and easy to follow. When attempting to digitally check out my 1st library book, I thought I could do it intuitively. When I encountered a glitch, I got in the car and drove to my local library branch for help. The Librarians were willing, but too busy with other "customers", so I returned home, pulled up your site and very quickly was able to download the book by following your step-by-step. My 1st instinct had been to get to the library, but the whole point of your blog is to save us that inconvenience. Your instructions made it so easy. Laurel

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  2. Thanks for your helpful comment, Laurel. Yes, the whole point of my Design Tech Tonics posts is to make using your devices easier. You just discovered this! Yay!

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