It’s official! Kindle public library lending is here

It’s official! Kindle public library lending is here

Of course, you knew about it already…I wrote about it when it was in Beta, but Amazon has now announced the arrival of public library lending for the Kindle:

Amazon Kindle community thread

Here is the official page:

I’ll update this later, but I wanted to give you the official word. 🙂

Update: I went to the Help page at Amazon, and that has some more detail.

Kindle Public Library help page

Here are a few key points:

  • Only in the USA
  • Only delivered via wi-fi or by downloading using your computer and then using the USB to “sideload”
  • It works with all Kindles and apps (including the Cloud Reader), but note that it will only be wireless to a Kindle if the Kindle has wi-fi
  • You can see the status of the loan at and possibly at the library’s site
  • Terms (such as the length of the loan) may vary by library
  • Availability will vary by library
  • “This feature will become available to libraries nationwide in the coming days.”

Update 2:

The option was not available at my library when I checked…oh, an hour or so ago, but it is now.

I selected a book and put it in my cart (that might vary for you). It took my to Amazon, where I selected the device to which I wanted it sent.

I then checked at

It shows there (sorry, I’m not in a place where I can do a screenshot) and says, “public library” by the title. Clicking on the plus box next to the title, it tells me the date the loan expires and there is a link so I could buy the book from Amazon if I wanted.

The Actions menu has an interesting set of choices:

  • Read Now (which would be in the Cloud Reader)
  • Deliver to my… (this did allow me to send it to other devices on the account, including my Kindle for Android app. That’s important, because I’d heard before that library licenses generally had one simultaneous device license…it appears to me that you can read the same library book on more than one device at the same time on the same account)
  • Purchase this book
  • Download & transfer via USB (that’s what the K2/KDX/K1 owners will need to do…wireless delivery is only by wi-fi)
  • Return this book (which suggests I could return it early…that’s nice, it will keep the waiting lists shorter)
  • Delete from library (not quite sure what that does here…I presume it would be my library, not the public library ;)).  That same option is on non-public library books

I’m not in a place where I have wi-fi right now…so I sent it to my Android. That was quick and easy…it showed up in my Kindle for Android.

I also downloaded the Overdrive app to my Android phone:  curiously, it doesn’t seem to know about that book. I did originally order it for the Kindle, but you would think it would know I have the book checked out of the library. I haven’t played around with that app enough to know if I’m not looking in the right place.

Getting the book was very easy…no software to download. When I posted before and it wasn’t really set up yet, it had asked me to download software…but that was for EPUB.

This is a nice plus for the Kindle. When we looked at competitive advantages, this was one the Kindle lacked that other devices had…at least in the USA, that’s no longer true.

Update 3:

I got into a wi-fi area, turned wireless on for my Kindle, and received it just like any other book or blog. It is definitely on two devices on my account at the same time, and it opened on the Kindle to where I had read on my phone.

There wasn’t a marker on the book (such as we see for “new” or “audio” on my Kindle to indicate it was a library book.

When I right-clicked on it, I got the same choices I would get for a book I bought from Amazon.

Update 4: thanks to patrinka in the Amazon Kindle community for posting this link:®-kindle

Overdrive has put up an instructional video on how to get library books on your Kindle.  It doesn’t explain how to sideload for anything other than a Kindle 3, though. For that, you can use

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

17 Responses to “It’s official! Kindle public library lending is here”

  1. Mary Says:

    Bufo, after you have downloaded it to one device, you need to use Manage my Kindle to get it to other devices. I already had a long wish list and along with Adobe epub ebook, for everything in my wish list, it also showed Kindle book. They couldn’t have made it easier because when checking out the book, there you are in your old familiar Kindle store with the drop-down box to choose where to send it. I am ecstatic that I no longer have to use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer library books to the Nook. It is a klutsy and flawed program and the less I have to see it, the better. From Manage my Kindle, I also had it sent to the iPad and it will be interesting to see if it keeps my place on each device. There is no reason it shouldn’t since it seems to be handling it exactly like any other Kindle book. One addition, though. In Manage my Kindle under Actions, be careful not to click Buy this Book inadvertently. I think Amazon will make a lot of sales to people who like the book enough to keep it, or did not have time to finish it before the loan expired. My library has two week checkout which means it’s the same for digital. Not a problem unless I am reading several books at a time, as I often am. You can return epub books early to the library but need to do it through the dreaded Digital Editions, and the Kindle way is easier. It is certainly courteous to return something when you are through with it.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Mary!

      Actually, I did click that Buy This Book link to see what would happen. 🙂 As I guessed, it just takes me to the Amazon product page…you still have to 1-click to buy it.

      It should keep your place, since they say Amazon Whispersync works with it…that’s presuming you have Whispersync enabled.

  2. Mary Says:

    Well, that’s an improvement over the immediacy of Buy This Book when you have finished a sample. Click on that and you have bought it. Of course, you can always then click on bought by accident and Amazon takes it back. You are braver than I.

  3. Common Sense Says:

    It’s fantastic that it’s a MUCH easier process than for epubs. After thinking through the technical aspects though, I wonder how they expire the book file on your Kindle? It comes directly from Amazon like any other ebook, there is no software update for the Kindle required, and you can turn your wireless off and still read the book.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Common!

      Yes, it seems like a great implementation!

      The book could have a built-in “countdown to destruction”…but it’s interesting, because at my library, I could choose seven days or fourteen days…I’m not sure it would be encoded at the library level, and different libraries can have different rules. My MYK knows when it is supposed to expire. It could be that you can keep reading like you could with a loaned book from a Kindle account if you don’t turn on your wireless…that’s not going to happen with very many people over a week-long period, I think.

  4. Mary Says:

    Wouldn’t it work just like Loan This Book does? At the end of the two weeks, you don’t have it any more. I would have no way of knowing what happens if you don’t turn on the wireless because I have subscriptions to a few things and I never turn it off. The NY Times Latest News updates itself many times a day. However, someone could give it a shot and see what happens, but not me. I will guarantee you, however, that as far as Overdrive is concerned, the book will expire when its time is up, so you would not be keeping someone else from reading it.

    What is interesting to me are the people who have CHOICES for how long to have it out. Someone somewhere today said she had the choice of 10 days or 14 days and Bufo says his is 7 or 14 days. With me, there are no choices; 14 days is it, probably because my particular library has that for its checkout duration. But that’s ok; I can live with it. I just know not to get greedy and have too many out at once and get all stressed. Reading is supposed to be relaxing, not stressful, in my opinion.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Mary!

      I’ve had it reported to me by someone I consider very reliable that a loaned book did not disappear from the Kindle when the loan period was up…and the wireless did not connect. What happened was the person was in a location without wireless (after getting the loan). It didn’t disappear until they got back to a wireless area.

      I don’t know if it will work that way with the public library books or not…we’ll have to see. Like you, it won’t be me testing that, though…I turn my wireless on (briefly) every day to pick up blogs.

  5. Bob Fry Says:

    “Of course, you knew about it already”

    No…I first heard about it here! Thanks for the heads-up. I got no email from Amazon, nor was there an obvious link to click on their website.

    Now to see if my local library offers this.

  6. katie Says:

    does this mean that if i have the kindle 2 with 3g it doesn’t include wifi, and so i can’t download wirelessly? thanks.

  7. John Says:

    Alright… so here’s the first wrinkle I’ve run across, re: privacy.

    Some of this transaction takes place on the Amazon website, & they will have a record of at least some of my library selections. (I know they already have a record of my purchases, but these are books I’m checking out from the library)

    Are Amazon going to protect my privacy as zealously as the library will?

  8. Tom Semple Says:

    The new Sony Reader will be raising the bar, as you’ll be able to connect wirelessly to your library collection and download on the device itself. No ADE required, unless you download on the computer first.

    Right now, that’s not possible on Kindle because the annoying ‘only one browser window’ restriction prevents it from completing the workflow when it would otherwise redirect to the Amazon web site to initiate delivery. Maybe Overdrive can fix that, but it still would not be as nice as what Sony is coming out with soon.

    It is a little annoying that you cannot use 3G to download/send the book, unless you first upload to something like Dropbox or Google Docs, at which point it is probably simpler just to pull out the USB cable. You cannot even send it as an attachment to your Kindle email (I tried it; it won’t deliver ‘encrypted’ content). I suppose Amazon wants to keep ‘Free 3G’ “free”, but why can’t this go in the category of ‘personal content’ and incur a delivery surcharge?

    Also, on K2, library books appear in Archives but when I tried to download from there, it gave a really strange error about needing to restart Kindle or something like that.

    So while it is better than what the experience has been for other ereaders, there are some rough edges.

  9. Andrew Says:

    Hi Bufo!

    This is a private email, not a comment for the blog.

    [Bufo’s note: Andrew later told me it was okay to publish this: see Andrew’s later comment, and also in private e-mail]

    I just discovered something very interesting that I think you’ll be excited about. Apparently Kindle books checked out from a public library have text-to-speech enabled, even when the same book purchased from Amazon doesn’t!

    I downloaded Stieg Larson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” from my library. (I thought it was a bit tricky figuring out how to actually get the file, BTW, once I’d checked it out, but that’s probably just poor web design on my library’s part–I had to go to a separate page called my “bookshelf,” where there were links to Amazon for each of the books I’d checked out. Once I figured it out, it was easy-peasy, even with a K2.) While I was downloading it to my computer, I checked to see if it had TTS enabled, and I was disappointed to see that it didn’t. However when I got the book transfered to my Kindle, I tried it, and sure enough TTS worked fine!

    I’m not sure whether sending you this is a good idea or not! I don’t think I have any right to ask you not to publicize information, especially if you get it from another source, but I’d really rather you didn’t publicize this just yet. I think it is possible that this was an oversight by Amazon or the publishers (though that seems unlikely), and that if they are made aware of the issue right away, they’ll move to correct it. If they don’t become aware of the issue right away, though, it will be slightly harder for them to take functionality away from people who have been using it already. Even if that doesn’t concern the Author’s Guild or the publishers, it might make Amazon willing to negotiate a little harder to keep the functionality working rather than have another PR black-eye over this issue again.

    If and when you do decide to publicize this, I don’t mind you mentioning me by name or quoting this message.

    (Speaking of TTS, I wanted to read “A Game of Thrones” on my Kindle when the TV series started, but I was disappointed to see that it had TTS disabled. I don’t boycott non-TTS books, but it’s an important feature for me, so I frequently decide a book isn’t worth buying without it. I did notice however, that the “4-book Boxed Set” of the series (How do they box Kindle editions? Do they send you an empty box separately in the mail?) *does* have TTS enabled, as does the most recent book in the series when it’s purchased separately. Fortunately, both editions are available through my public library now, so I can use TTS either way! (Once I get to the top of the waiting list.)

    Take care,

    • Andrew Says:

      Well, bad news. I just got Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild” from my public library; it’s the second book I’ve gotten that had “Text-to-speech: Not enabled” listed on the product page, and in this case … text-to-speech was not enabled.

      Oh well! I wonder if Amazon and the publisher of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” forgot to update the product page to reflect their allowing TTS, or if they forgot to set the flag disabling it. I also wonder if copies purchased from Amazon instead of borrowed from a library have TTS enabled, whether by accident or design.

      This is just a followup to my earlier message, FYI, but you can publish all or parts of either message if you like. No need for secrecy now–I think I’ll be able to finish listening to TGWTDT no matter what!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: