Thursday, September 22, 2011

Borrowing Kindle books from the library

The good news is that it's really easy. I started at the Boston Public Library. I don't live in Boston, but all Massachusetts residents have the right to a free e-library card. (OK, not free, we pay for it with our taxes.)

It turns out, though, that this process is virtually the same for all libraries that lend Kindle books. The parts around the edges will show the logo and information that is specific to your library, but the lists and buttons and things you have to do are all exactly the same.

1 Anyways, start at the BPL and choose Electronic Books under BPL Catalogs.

bpl catalogs ebooks

2 On the eBooks, Audio, and Video Search screen that appears, click OverDrive eBooks down under eBooks. (There are other ways to get there, but this is my favorite.)

BPL - Electronic Resources

3 Click the Advanced Search tab.

Browse eBooks

4 Now choose Kindle Book under Formats and check the "Only show titles with copies available" at the bottom.

Search BPL for Kindle-2-1

5 The BPL currently has 5594 Kindle titles, but while I was doing this tutorial only 3344 were available. That's nothing like the 22 million plus titles in its print collection, but it's a good start. My local library system has 2614 Kindle titles with 1247 of them available this minute. Hey, but Kindle just went live today, did folks really grab them up that quickly? Probably not. It looks like libraries have a license for a given book in EPUB and Kindle formats, and when someone takes out the EPUB, the Kindle is not available, and vice versa.

6 You can either browse around or use the Search within results field to narrow down your search.

Search within

7Once you find the book you're interested in, click the Add to Cart button next to Kindle Edition.

Add to Cart Kindle-1

8 On the next screen, you can either go back and find more books or proceed to check out. Let's click Proceed to Checkout.

Proceed to check out

9 If you haven't already logged in, you’ll need to do that now. The BPL says it will require cardholders to enter a pin starting October 3, but for now all you need is your library card number. Then click Sign in.

Log in BPL-1

10 Next, the library will show you the book(s) you're checking out, along with their formats so you can confirm that you want them. Click Confirm Check Out when you're ready to go ahead.

check out bpl-1

11 Next, you'll be in the My Digital Account area. You can come back here later by clicking the My Digital Account tab if you need to redownload a book or if you get interrupted. Click the Get for Kindle button.

Get for Kindle

12You'll be spirited to Amazon's website where you'll have to sign in with your account name and password. Then you'll see your book page with a big Get library book button (where the Buy button usually is). Click it!

get library book amzn

13At this point, as long as you have a wifi connection, the book is WhisperSynced into your Kindle, whichever one you chose in the previous step. (If you don't have a wifi connection, you can download the book to your computer and then use the USB cable to connect your Kindle and drag the file over.)

On Kindle

If you download it to a different device than the one you want to read it on, you can find it in the Archived Items folder.

And that's it. Happy reading.

TimeOut Kindle example

This is a page from the Time Out Barcelona guide that I borrowed in Kindle format from the Boston Public Library and opened up in the Kindle app on my iPad. It's a picture of the square near our apartment in Gràcia. It's now called “Plaça de la Vila”!

Guess I could've called this post “The Thirteen Steps”. Would you be interested in seeing it in PDF format for printing out?

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