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In keeping with the tradition of making books available to everyone – at least in the US – now allows Kindle users to download and borrow Kindle e-books from their local library. The loan process works similarly to how you check out paper books at the library, but there a few perks for the Kindle e-loans.

Borrowed Kindle books get the same features and services that come with purchased ones, including Amazon’s Whipersync technology for synchronizing books between devices, and the ability to annotate and add notes to pages.

How It Works

Currently, Kindle books are available at more than 11,000 libraries in the U.S., according to In order to borrow and download a book from your local library you will have to use of one of several OverDrive’s Mac and Windows desktop platforms, or an iOS, Android, and BlackBerry mobile application.


You will also of course need a valid library card and a registered Kindle device or reading app. When you browse your local participating library, click the “Get for Kindle” button. This will open the Kindle website, and from there you can download (borrow) your selected Kindle ebook to your specified Kindle device or e-reader app.


Amazon says that, “after a public library book expires, if you check it out again or choose to purchase it from the Kindle store, all your annotations and book marks will be preserved.”

It’s not clear why e-book loans can’t be done directly through Amazon, but it’s nevertheless great to see the service available.

Source: PC World
Image credit: Shutterstock

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  1. RJ
    September 27, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    It is because there are only a certain number of licenses available. The libraries purchase a book just like any other reader -- they only purchase so many copies of a book. This means they can't just loan out more copies of a book that they've acquired. So if the library has 1 copy of harry potter, and someone e-loans it, they don't have a copy to loan to someone else.

    Digital does *not* mean *free*. Copyright doesn't mean that buying 1 copy means there are unlimited available. The authors of the book have bills to pay too. So unless the library purchases more licenses, there are only the number the library purchased available.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 29, 2011 at 1:32 am

      Thanks RJ. I should of have read your response first and saved the trouble of writing my own. You explanation seems right on target. 

  2. Conneryfan
    September 27, 2011 at 4:44 am

    What I don't understand is, since they're digital and there's no "physical" copy, why are there a limited number if copies available at one time. I'm still waiting in line. Glad to have this service. Love it. Just don't understand that part.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 29, 2011 at 1:30 am

      Well, I think they always have the fear that people will borrow more books than they will buy. And perhaps the local tax dollars via the libraries are going to pay for the ebook downloads. Just gotta follow the money trail. That's my guess anyway.