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Monday, August 27, 2012

Check Out Books from an Online Library?

As more and more books become available in digital format, libraries are beginning to offer books in digital format. The libraries have a system of loaning the books for a specified period of time, usually two weeks. When you find a book to check out, you download a copy to your digital bookshelf and then at the end of the loan period, the book simply disappears. One popular program for contacting almost any library in the world is a program called Overdrive Media, available for desktop computers, Android devices and iOS devices. So you can check out a book for your Kindle, your iPad or even your iPhone or Android phone. You can use Overdrive Media to search for a local library with online books to lend in almost any country of the world.

The catch to whole program is that you have to have a library card for an affiliate library. For example, in my case, I have a library card for the Maricopa County Public Library. This library is affiliated with the Greater Phoenix Digital Library which uses Overdrive Media to check out books. It is possible that your own public library may use a different program, but the key is that the program gives you access to the online books and allows you to download copies for loan. In the case of the Greater Phoenix Digital Library, they have PDF ePub books, Open ePub books, MP3 Audio books, WMA Audio books, ePub books and Kindle books. The program also gives you the option of buying the book, rather than checking it out.

On addition, there are libraries of downloadable books that are entirely on the Internet and have no physical location. Probably one of the larger of these online lending libraries is the Open Library with over a million books available.

One of the limitations of the online lending system is that, in most cases, the library has to have as many physical copies of books as it has for lending online and the books can only be checked out, like a physical book, one at a time. So, if you are looking for a popular book, you may find that many people have already put the book on reserve. In my case, I am used to that, since many of the books I try to check out at the library already have a waiting list.


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