Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hallelujah! Amazon Opening Library Lending For Kindle!

Today feels a little like Christmas to a nerdy, frugal person like myself. Even as the El Cajon skies above are overcast, the day has started off with a press release from Amazon that they will finally support library lending on the Kindle. I was spoiled enough to get a Kindle from my in-laws this past year. The eInk is truly impressive, and I've downloaded some great domain-free classics at no cost. But, I just could never get past the fact that Amazon stubbornly didn't support interconnectivity with OverDrive, the eBook lending system used by many public libraries, including our very own San Diego County Library system.

There's a silver lining to this cloudy day!
 Now, I'm giddy with excitement that in the near future, I should be able to read current, popular books for free on my Kindle. This leads me to my unsponsored plug for the San Diego County Libraries. Where else can you go to hang out without having to purchase anything? What other way can you read books, watch movies, and listen to music for free without fear of putting your family at risk of being investigated by the Feds? As a San Diego County resident, you must make sure that you have a current library card! Not only does this allow you to check out a large selection of print books, DVDs, and CDs--it also gives you access to free online resources that you can use from the comfort of your own home or even on the go, as I've been doing a lot lately.

Included in the County's online resources is OverDrive, which allows you to borrow from an ever-growing library of eBooks. I've only started making use of OverDrive myself, accessing it via an app on my smartphone. But, I'm already a huge fan, having been able to indulge in my guilty pleasure of celebrity biographies including Queen Latifah's Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom (currently $9.99 on Amazon) and Kitty Kelley's Oprah: A Biography (currently $8.99 on Amazon). This past week, I've even dabbled with OverDrive's audiobook offerings, and so I've been enjoying Frank Bruni's Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater (currently $20.95 on Amazon) while driving around town.

Even though I've already been enjoying OverDrive on my phone, am I still excited that it's coming to the Kindle? Heck yeah! I can't wait to breathe new life into my Kindle. Since I've started using OverDrive, do I still visit the physical libraries themselves? All of the time! I love taking our kids to various library branches for programs, to play on the kiddie computers, to meet up with friends, and to check out books. Besides, library eBook offerings are still much more slim when compared with what's available in print, especially when considering how the County allows you to make free interlibrary loan requests from within its own system, with San Diego college and university libraries via the San Diego Circuit, and with other library systems throughout California and Nevada via Link+. No matter how little money you may have, there is no excuse for denying your family the valuable privileges provided by our public libraries!

In closing, here's a final tip regarding OverDrive: Maximize your eBook offerings by getting a library card for the City of San Diego's public library system, which has its own OverDrive library. You just have to be a California state resident in order to get a card from the City. Even if you don't make frequent trips out to City library branches in person, a card will allow you to access their online resources. Since you'll discover that most OverDrive books are often checked out and with a sometimes lengthy waiting list, it helps to be able to use both the County and City. And, if you just can't wait, buy the book from Amazon--I'm happier than ever to give them my endorsement since they are now willing to work with libraries!


  1. Don't have a kindle but LOVE our library system!! You've got a great one on Douglas Avenue there in El Cajon...

  2. That's my home branch! I am thankful that the hours haven't been cut to the County system so far. I'm keeping my fingers crossed they'll be able to keep their doors open as much as they currently do.

  3. This is a great move from Amazon. Lending those books will certainly give happiness back to the faces of avid readers. I will not be surprised if someday, Amazon will also lend money to its members.