Check out Kindle ebooks from the public libraryKindle library ebooks are here! Amazon and OverDrive, the biggest supplier of digital books for libraries in the US, have joined forces to make Kindle ebooks available for digital checkout over the air from where ever you are. In this first wave, 11,000 libraries have jumped on board. No one seems to have published a list of WHICH libraries, however.

UPDATE: Thanks to Shelley Wiese, here’s the link to search OverDrive libraries link to discover whether your library is included. Or you can try searching, as below.

Overdrive Media ConsoleI’ve been using the OverDrive Media Console Android app to read ePub and PDF formatted liberary ebooks for a while now, but the inclusion of Kindle library books is an amazing leap forward in the usability of library ebook reading. You can annotate, sync your bookmarks and current page across devices, and lots of other cool tricks that the OverDrive app doesn’t allow.

So here are the 6 steps to reading Kindle library ebooks on your android:

  • Step 1: Make sure your library card is current. If you’ve never used your card online, go find your card and use the number on it to log in and set up an online account. If you don’t have one, go get one. They’re free in 48 states, and if you live inside city limits in most cities in the remaining 2 states (Illinois & New Jersey). It’s a taxation thing.
  • Kindle ReaderStep 2: Download the Kindle Reader for Android.
  • Step 3: Log on to the OverDrive digital media or downloadable media section of your library’s site and find a book you want to read.
  • Step 4: Choose the Kindle format, “add to cart” if you can or “place a hold”. Click here for a visual of the library page for Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore” for an example of the different format options. If you can add the Kindle ebook you want to check out to your cart, go through the checkout process. Note that library check out periods vary from 7 to 21 days depending on the library. Keep an eye out for a check out duration option in the checkout flow — some libraries have them and some don’t.
  • Step 5: Once the Kindle ebook has been checked out, just click the “Get for Kindle” button and you’re instantly sent to Amazon’s page for that Kindle book to complete the download. Click here for a visual of my account’s checked out books to see what I mean. (No making fun of my reading selections!) The ebook can be sent to any of your registered devices — Android phone, tablet, iPad, PC, actual Kindle reader (gasp), etc.
  • Kindle on Android TabletStep 6: Open the Kindle reader app on your device and sync. You’ll find the library ebook in your “Archive” just like regular Kindle ebook purchases. Just click on it in the archive to download it to your device and start reading!

If the books you want aren’t available in Kindle format, I recommend the ePub format read via the OverDrive Media Console. The PDF versions aren’t as flexible and make for wonky scaling and scrolling issues. Or you could check out an actual paper version of the book, but who wants to do that?!

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5 Comments on Read Kindle Library eBooks on Android (and Everywhere Else)

  1. Ed says:

    When I open overdrive on my droid x and go to my library website, the kindle format is not an available format option. Logging on from my computer, the option is available. It seems when the overdrive website’s mobile version does not provide this option. How does one check out a kindle book for android if it is not an available option?

    • jillkocher says:

      Yes, that stinks. It happens to me in Chicago as well, though the Madison WI library allows mobile access to check out kindle titles. That leads me to believe that it’s down to the individual library’s implementation. Lame but true.

  2. Matt says:

    I just found this posting when trying to use the Overdrive site to download a kindle-format ebook for my android phone (with kindle app). It is checked out to me, but the “get for kindle” button takes me to Amazon.com’s page with the price still listed. I downloaded it, but was charged. I was able to refund the book, but still want to download the public library copy. Have you dealt with this?

  3. Matt says:

    I found the issue. I had to access the site from a PC and choose to download it to my phone, but I couldn’t do it all from my phone.

    • Jill Kocher says:

      Hi Matt. I agree, the process is not super-intuitive from a PC. I do everything from the Overdrive app on my phone. But it does get tricky because some Kindle ebooks can only be downloaded to your PC and not directly onto your phone. I think this is a publisher requirement for some publishers, not Amazon’s preference. Frankly, I try to avoid those PC-download-only Kindle books and read the ePub version in the Overdrive app instead just to avoid having to deal with the PC to phone download nonsense 🙂

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