A Step-By-Step Guide to Check Out E-Books From the Library

The ultimate step-by-step tutorial so you can read books for free from your local library
This easy step-by-step guide will show you how to check out e-books from the library. Reading as much as you want for free is a total gamechanger! Learn how to use Overdrive and Libby and get free e-books on your Kindle. #reading #booksuggestions #library

If you’re new to the blog, you might not know this… I am an avid reader. I absolutely LOVE the mental escape of a really good piece of fiction. A few years ago, I switch to reading primarily on my Kindle Paperwhite and I love it. I made this change for a few reasons, but mostly because of ease of use, not having to store books, and because I can get FREE e-books from the library! After sharing what I’ve read so far this year, I got a lot of direct messages about how to check out e-books from the library. It’s really easy to set up and a total game changer! I swear, I read so much more now than I ever did before.

How to Check Out E-Books From the Library on Kindle, A Step-by-Step Guide

Before we get into how to check out e-books, I have a disclaimer! I ran this entire post by Sean’s sister Molly who is a librarian! She gave me the thumbs up, so at least you know the info in this post is coming from an expert.

Step 1: Get a library card

I am not 100% sure if all libraries are able to issue cards right now. Check the website to find out more for your location. I really hope you can get a library card if you don’t already have one! And I definitely think you should have one because it unlocks all kinds of stuff for you, besides just free books, movies, and music. For example, I’ve used mine to get free tickets to our local zoo!

If you are local to Seattle and do not have a library card already, you can sign up for one online here. It will take a few days and you’ll have to go into the library with your ID once they re-open, but you can definitely get access now!

Step 2: Search for the e-books you want to borrow

I use Good Reads to keep track of what I want to read because the Seattle Public Library only lets me have 25 books on hold at one time. Usually the titles I want to read are new releases, so it can take longer for the books to be ready. If I want to read something right away, I simply search for books that are on my Good Reads list and pick something that’s immediately available for download.

You can also use Libby, an app from Overdrive that allows you to read e-books. If you don’t want to use Good Reads, Libby is a great alternative because you can tag books that you want to read, browse, and listen to audiobooks. If you’re like me and have a Kindle, Libby still works, too. Molly said that the easiest way to browse and check out books is with Libby — sounds like I’ll be changing up how I check out my e-books from now on!

Step 3: Check out the book!

Here’s where the directions get a little complicated because each library system handles their digital content differently. Some libraries use Overdrive, which is a digital e-book service. It’s totally free and let’s you borrow all kinds of digital content. Find out if your local library uses it here. You can use Overdrive’s app to read on your phone or tablet, too… you don’t have to have a Kindle! I simply like it because I find it easier on my eyes.

If your library doesn’t support Overdrive or you want to use your Kindle, choose that option when you check out. For me, I click on ‘Kindle’ instead of Overdrive or Adobe Epub. Then, click ‘download Kindle.’ That will open a new window and take you to Amazon, where you click ‘Get Library Book’ and select which device you want it to be delivered to. It will sync the next time you turn on the Kindle.

It’s worth noting that I use my laptop to find and check out books. I can do it on my phone, but it’s not the most seamless of experiences… your library might have an amazing app though!

Step 4: Returning the e-book

Since it’s a digital file, the e-book will automatically be removed from your device as long as it’s connected to the internet. So when you hold has expired, it will disappear and go back into circulation. You can also choose to return the book to the library sooner!

And that’s really all there is to it! I swear, it’s really easy once you get used to it… and it’s so worth it because you end up saving so much money by not buying paperbacks. As someone on a somewhat strict budget, that’s a big deal to me.

If you’re interested in any or all of these books, I made it easy to shop with my Amazon storefront. Enjoy!

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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