Over the last several years, tablets and eReaders have become an increasingly popular way to read and enjoy content. According to the latest Pew Internet poll, nearly 30% of Americans now own either a tablet or eReader. And while eBooks have also seen a dramatic increase in sales over traditional paper books, many people don’t realize that they can also borrow eBooks from their local library for free. If you’re in the market to buy an eReader, check out these eReader comparisons from our blog and TechCrunch.
Step One: Ask Your Librarian
While many libraries now offer eBooks, there’s no universal catalog for browsing available titles. You’ll need to talk with someone at your local library about their eBook catalog and how to get started. You’ll likely need your library card and internet access to view the eBooks available at your library.
Step Two: Find What You Want
Now that you know how to use your library’s eBook catalog, you’re ready to start browsing! Exploring titles on a eBook catalog can feel a little confusing at first, especially since you may see books that you can’t download yet. Just like the physical books at your library, there are a limited number of copies that can be loaned out at the same time for each book. Whenever you see a book you’d like to download later, sign up for the waiting list(also known as a hold) for that title and you’ll be notified as soon as it’s available.
If you’re looking for something right away, I recommend browsing through books that have been recently returned, which makes it easy to find some of the most circulated and popular titles at your library.
Step Three: Download and Enjoy
Once you’ve found an eBook you want to read, you’re just a few clicks away from downloading the title to your device. Depending on the type of eReader or tablet you have, you’ll need to download an application (like Kindle for PC or Adobe Digital Editions) to transfer the eBook. Again, ask your librarian what you’ll need for your specific device.
Most eBooks can be checked out just as long as a regular library book (between one and two weeks), usually with an option to extend the loan period, as well. But here’s my favorite part about borrowing eBooks: you never have to remember to return the book to the library. Once your lending period has expired, the eBook will simply disappear from your eReader.
eBooks aren’t without their limitations. It’s important to realize many of the major publishing companies don’t currently license libraries to lend their titles, so you won’t find the same kind of variety as you would on your library’s shelves or a local bookstore. Still, it’s an easy way to check out cool and interesting books, and it’s completely free.
Have you ever downloaded an eBook from your library or wanted to know how? Let us know in the comments below!