{Read for Free} Part One: Library Books on Your Kindle

read for free library on kindle

If you read as much as I do, eventually you’ll be making that call between groceries and books. Personally, I always want to choose books, but what if there was a way to have both? I’ve created this series for you on new ways to read for free that you might not know about. Here we go!

Part One: how to read library books on Kindle.

A couple of years ago, I went to Spain. A friend I’ve known since we were in kindergarten was teaching English there, so I was dying to visit. As I was packing, I ran out to my local bookshop. Poor thing, I thought. I know she speaks Spanish fluently, but what if she wanted an English book to read? I bought four or five I thought we’d both enjoy and stowed them in my suitcase. I felt like I had a big secret, kind of like the guy in the mural above. And yes, that’s in France not Spain. But I digress…

Cut to my joyful arrival in Sevilla and the unveiling of the books. I pulled them all out and laid them across the bed, eager to hear squeals of joy. She cocked her head to the side.

“Thank you so much for bringing them all this way. But… you do know I can check books out from the library on my kindle whenever I want, right?”


I like to think of myself as very tech savvy. I use apps. I update my gadgets and I am not intimidated by a little code. But for some reason, the idea of figuring out how to read library books on the Kindle made me nervous.

If you are like me, you know it’s a good idea for so many reasons, but the tech has you a little flummoxed. No more!

Here’s how to read a library book on your Kindle, step-by-step:

(note: images were taken using an iPhone for ease of presentation on this page. The web pages will look a tiny bit different, but the steps are the same.

  1. You need a library card. If you have one, excellent. If not, head straight to your local library branch and sign up. Come back here once you have your card.
  2. Head to your library’s e-media area: the easiest way to find it for the first time is to go to overdrive.com and then search for your library by clicking “Find a library” and typing in your location.
  3. Click your library once you find it- if you’re in a larger network, like we are in LA, you can click any library in the system and then go to “visit library website.”
  4. Once you are on your library’s website page, type in the title you want to check out in the search bar.read library book on kindle
  5. If the book exists in the database, it will appear within your search results. If it’s an eBook, you’ll see a book icon. If it’s audio, you’ll see headphones.
  6. Click on the selection with the book icon. You will see one of two blue buttons appear: “Borrow” or “Place a Hold.”IMG_8279 read library books on kindle
  7. If you see “Borrow,” congratulations! The book is available. Click Borrow.
  8. A screen will pop up asking you to sign in. Enter the barcode number from your library card and the pin you received from the library and hit enter.IMG_8281
  9. You will then be taken to the bookshelf and the title you checked out will appear on the shelf. There will be a button marked “Download” with a  drop-down menu. Click the white arrow to see the file formats.  IMG_8283
  10. When the menu drops down, tick the box for KindleIMG_8284
  11. This will then take you to Amazon’s site, where you will see the title just as if you were purchasing it. However, instead of the purchase button, it will be replaced with “Get Library Book.”
  12. Below the “Get library book” button, make sure you have selected your Kindle under the “Deliver to” option just below.
  13. Click “Get library book.”

And that’s it, folks! The next time you sync your Kindle, the book will appear in the menu, just like other Kindle books.

Now, you might be asking, “what happens if it says place a hold instead of borrow?”

That’s a good question. Here are your steps for those books

  1. Follow the same steps up to #7 above.
  2. Instead of clicking “Borrow”, click “Place a hold.”
  3. You will also be instructed to enter your library card barcode and pin. Do that and hit enter
  4. You will then be asked to enter the email address where you’d like to receive an alert once the book is available. Enter it twice.IMG_8285
  5. Pro tip: there is a tick box below the email fields which says “Automatically borrow this title when it becomes available.” If you are good about checking email and don’t mind setting other books aside for library books, go ahead and leave it checked. However, if you (like me) often want to finish what you’re reading before starting something new, untick it. You will be alerted that it is available and you’ll get a few days’ grace period to check it out. Then this won’t cut down on your 21 day load period.IMG_8286

Pro tip #2- my library allows me to change the loan period for e-Books. I believe it was set to 14 days when I first started reading library books on Kindle, but I was able to change that preference to 21 days.

So that’s it, folks. You can now read to your heart’s content and you don’t even need to worry about picking up or dropping off books at the library. Bonus- the file simply disappears when it’s due. No late fees or stress about getting the book back on time.


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4 thoughts on “{Read for Free} Part One: Library Books on Your Kindle

    1. Deanna- Excellent! Glad the pictures help. I find it is easier to explain things with a visual reference. Let me know what you read first from the library! :)

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