Borrow Kindle Books From the Library? Now You Can!

Got a Kindle? You may now have access to thousands of free books—at your local library. I can only assume jetpacks are next, friends, because the future is now.

Amazon has just launched a Kindle library lending program so Kindle users can borrow books from 11,000 public libraries in the U.S. The new service is courtesy of Amazon's partnership with Overdrive, and library-lent e-books will work on both Kindle e-readers and Kindle smartphone or tablet apps.

The only catch? Well . . . as far as I can tell, there isn't one. Here's how it works:


Assuming your library is one that's currently participating in the program, you'll find your Kindle book on the library's website. Using your library card, you'll check out the title, then click "Send to Kindle." The library website will then automatically send the book over to, where you can download it to your device.

Easy-peasy, right?

You can't keep the loaned e-book forever (Kindle will notify you before the due date as a reminder), and there will be limited copies of e-books at libraries, so in that sense borrowing Kindle books will be exactly like borrowing printed materials. Yes, you'll probably need to get on an e-waiting list if you want to read something like The Help.

Still, what a convenient service, and what a great way to justify the purchase of an e-reader! Although e-books have been available at libraries for some time now, this is the first time that Kindle books will also be available. While Amazon has been pretty quiet about rolling this out, it's actually a fairly big deal considering some sales reports claim that Kindle owns 51.7% of the e-reader marketshare.

Plus, Kindle gives readers the ability to do things to the borrowed e-version that would seriously mess up a regular book. With the Kindle books, you can highlight passages, add notes, and bookmark pages. These user-added customizations are stripped from the book when your lending time is up, but get this—Amazon saves that stuff for if you ever happen to borrow the book again.

If you've been wanting a Kindle, but have balked at the thought of having to buy digital books when there's all those free paper-and-ink varieties available for loan, it might be worth investigating whether or not your library supports this new lending model. And if they do, give them a round of applause (not that you weren't doing that anyway!). Libraries pay money to subscribe to the Overdrive service, and I think it's pretty awesome that even in the midst of budget crunches nationwide, they're doing what they can to support the changing needs of their patrons.

What do you think about the new Kindle library option? Does your local library support it yet?

Image via Amazon

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