I’m a pretty regular user of my local library, usually with 3-4 books out each month (with only 1-2 completely read + a few bucks in late fees). I bought a Kindle a few months ago* and was happy to hear that I can now borrow e-books from my library onto it. Overdrive runs the digital media portion of my local library system, and also runs it for many others. Previously, the DRM software restrictions made it impossible to get onto a Kindle. You can run a search for a branch close to you on Overdrive.com.
Unfortunately, so far I haven’t been impressed. The titles are very limited, and usually my city only has one copy of each. I’m still hopeful that a lower cost for distribution means it will this system more popular. Maybe libraries can even get a cut by offering a link to the book for sale. Here are a few stats:
- Lending period: 21 days for me, which is the same as physical books. You can electronically return the book earlier if you like.
- No late fees. The book is automatically removed from your Kindle device when time is up. You’ll get an e-mail warning, but this also means you can’t just keep it an extra day or two to finish up for $.50 in late fees. Poof!
- Maximum checkouts allowed at one time: For me, this is 10. Plenty.
I do like not having to drive to the library, of course. Finally, for more free reading material, I now use Instapaper to transfer all long web articles (like Boomerang) to read on Kindle. Much less eye strain. My most recent clipping? The famous 1979 Businessweek article The Death of Equities.
* By the way, I would definitely go for the $30 savings for “special offers” Kindle version. I would honestly have paid the same price as without ads (but don’t tell Jeff Bezos that). The ads are not intrusive to the reading experience at all, and and the coupons offered regularly save me money. You can view a list of all previously offered discounts here. It seems like every month I either get a Kindle book for $1 or something like $5 off any $10 Amazon purchase.