How to Borrow Free eBooks From The Library

Did you know this was possible?? I’ve talked to a few friends recently who had no idea you could borrow eBooks from the library for free! Upon hearing this, I immediately sent them detailed instructions so they could begin using this wonderful service.

As someone who firmly supports “real books” in the real books vs eBooks debate, I was at first hesitant to even download the Kindle app on my phone. However, I realized the benefits when I started traveling internationally for work and decided it wasn’t practical to stuff five books into my suitcase.

Despite that, I still can’t bring myself to buy an eBook. This is where the library comes in! Nowadays, many libraries are offering eBooks and audiobooks to borrow for free using a service called Overdrive.


These steps will show you how to search for and borrow one of these books!

Step 1 – Determine if your library offers eBooks. You can search the library’s website or ask a librarian. In my experience with four different libraries, the eBooks are available through Overdrive, a digital service that works with libraries to provide secure content.

*The following steps provide instructions to check out eBooks using Overdrive. If your library uses a different service, ask your local librarian if you need help : )

Step 2 – Access the library’s Overdrive website (usually available through a link on the library’s website).

Step 3 – This will bring you to the home screen, which looks slightly different for each library. Typically, a variety of books are showcased on this home page and sorted into categories, such as New Arrivals or Book Club Reads. From here you can also search for books or access your account.

home page overdrive

Step 4 – Sign in. Depending on the layout, you can either click on My Account or a Sign In button. You may be asked to select your specific library and then will need to enter your library card number. You may also need to enter your pin if you have one.

Signing in lets you see which books are available through your specific library.

sign in overdrive

Step 5 – Find a book! Return to the home screen and either browse through the collections or search for a specific title / author.

Step 6 – Once you find a book, make sure it has a book symbol in the right corner of the book cover…the headphones symbol is an audiobook, then click on Borrow.

Step 7 –  Go to the Checkouts section under your Account and click Download or Choose A Format. If you select the Kindle Book option, it will take you to Amazon where you can choose the device you want it delivered to before clicking Get Library Book.

checkout overdrive

Step 8 – Sync your device and start reading!!

Extra Tips:

  • If the book is not available, you can place a hold instead of clicking Borrow. All of your holds can be viewed in My Account.
  • If the library doesn’t have what you’re looking for, check back often since new books seem to be added all the time.

I hope you enjoy taking advantage of this great feature from your local library! If you have any questions or run in to any trouble using the Overdrive website, please let me know and I’ll try to help : )

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