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How to Check Out an eBook From the Rochester Hills Public Library

Whether for Kindle or Nook or another eReader, digital books (and music) are available for loan at our library.

For me, getting the Kindle Fire was like getting the keys to a candy store.

It's almost too easy to keep reading and reading.

I'm not alone in this. A recent study by the Pew Research Center showed that eReaders read more books than print readers.

And why not? It's so darn convenient.

But eventually, the bill comes due, and that's why I was thrilled to hear that the has eBooks for loan!

Seventy-eight percent of American adults read a book last year.

Getting started

The Rochester Hills library now offers two sources for eBooks. 

OverDrive is the largest disbributor of e-books to libraries. It is Kindle-compatible and also downloads to EPUB and PDF formats. A library card holder can "borrow" up to 10 OverDrive titles at a time. Each title is on loan for 21 days.

The library also just added Freading. Freading books are also in EPUB and PDF format and are compatible with most devices (except Kindle).

To use either service you must be a library cardholder and a resident of Rochester, Rochester Hills or Oakland Township. 

With Freading, cardholders receive four tokens a week to download eBooks. Books cost one, two or four tokens and can be renewed after 14 days for half the token price.

Thirty-five million digital titles were "checked out" to library patrons in 2011.

I'm a Kindle girl

I'm getting ready for a trip to the cottage and want to download a book to my Kindle for the trip, so this is the perfect time for me to write this story. If I can make it work and get packed all before 11 a.m. when my sister-in-law and nephews will pick us up.

Can I do it?

To quote my favorite animated builder, "Yes, I can!"

In fact, it's pretty easy. But the library wants to make it as easy as possible so they offer instructions three different ways:

  • The library's website, RHPL.org, has detailed instructions on how to get OverDrive or Freading e-books onto your device. 
  • If that's not clear enough, there are drop-in eBook sessions on Mondays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 7-8:30 p.m. There is no registration required for the drop-in sessions.
  • If that's still not enough, there are classes taught based on your device throughout the fall. To register, visit www.rhpl.org/events or call 248-650-7130.

Fact: The number of people owning an eReader device or tablet nearly doubled between December 2011 and January 2012.

Here's what I did

To borrow eBooks from our library I pulled out my Kindle Fire and did the following:

  • Step 1: You need to get your Kindle to play nice with OverDrive. To do this you must "Allow Installations from Unknown Sources." This is done through your Kindle settings. Select "More" then "Device." Then "Allow Installation of Applications from Unknown Sources" is an option. Turn it on.
  • Step 2: Go into your Kindle Fire's internet browser and enter http://overdrive.com/Software/omc/.
  • Step 3: Once there, select Android.
  • Step 4: Open the OverDrive app.
  • Step 5: Based on your prior usage you may or may not have an Adobe ID. Either way, you need one now. You can set that up at www.adobe.com.
  • Step 6: Return to OverDrive through the app and start looking at books!

Fact: Fourteen percent of adult readers borrowed their last eBook from a library.

Fallen Grace

You can search for titles on OverDrive but I have to say I didn't have much luck going this route.

According to the Frequently Asked Questions portion of RHPL's website, "Unfortunately, not all publishers make thier eBooks available to libraries."

I looked for 11/22/63 by Stephen King with no luck. In fact, I couldn't find any Stephen King eBooks.

As I worked my way down my "To Read" list I kept striking out. One book, The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott was available but there was a waiting list. A wait for an eBook? How does that make sense?

Again, the FAQ provided the answer: in regards to OverDrive "most publishers require that library books are offered to only one person per copy at a time, similar to how physical books are checked out. They feel this restriction helps maintain their profitability."

I put myself on The Dressmaker wait list.

I was then curious about the summer's hottest book, Gone Girl. As of this writing there are 153 holds on the physical copy and 94 on the eBook.

As for the author, Gillian Flynn, her two other titles were not available on OverDrive.

Time was ticking; I needed a book. So I took a leap and selected one of the titles recommended by OverDrive on their home page. After all, what is there to lose?

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper downloaded to my Kindle Fire (and my iPhone. Did you know there's an app for that?) and I enjoyed every page. After my 21 days it "expired" and was gone from my Kindle Fire — no trip to town required.

Great books, free of charge? Just another reason to love my Kindle and my library!

Fact: One in five readers say they read an eBook in the last year.

Peggy August 29, 2012 at 12:16 PM
I was disappointed in Gone Girl and wouldn't wait through that many pages. Excessive obscenities that I think are not necessary for the author to tell the story. Won't read her again.
Mackey Chandler September 09, 2012 at 01:12 PM
I've published to Kindle myself, and like many authors do free distributions of my books occasionally as promotions. I was surprised the first time I did that to find I gave away over 5,000 copies. There are a number of web sites that list free e-books but http://ereadernewstoday.com/ is for Kindle books only and a limited daily list of well reviewed books. I've downloaded quite a few from there and listed a couple of mine there too.

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