About 10,000 different books now can be checked out by Kindle users from the Los Angeles County Public Library system—all you need is a Kindle and a library card.
The Manhattan Beach Library is among the 85 county libraries offering the service, which started last week.
Redondo Beach Library and Palos Verdes Library District—not part of the county system—have also added Kindle e-books.
The library systems’ Public Affairs Manager Ken Kramer said that the electronic books are licensed for use. The library’s collection department decides which titles and how many licenses to purchase, and pays for those licenses.
"We pay to license the book for so many checkouts," Kramer said. "It’s very different than having a regular paper book in your collection."
He added that the technology "is still being hashed out as far as licensing and availability with the publishers."
Library e-books have been available for several years, thanks to a program called Overdrive. Owners of Nooks, iPads, iTouch, Sony Readers, Kobos, Blackberries, iPods, Androids, and even plain old computers (Mac or PC) have been able to borrow e-books all this time, but Kindle users were left out because Amazon didn’t participate.
But that has changed. Now Kindle owners can borrow library e-books too, and the sky’s the limit... actually, two weeks is the limit for county libraries. After that, the borrowed e-book “magically disappears” from the Kindle, Kramer laughed.
Manhattan Beach patrons should be able to find the e-books in the library’s online catalog, Kramer said.
Patch recommends going straight to the catalog’s download page to check out an e-book. There, you’ll be searching a catalog of e-books only, and Kindle versions are clearly marked. Here are the steps to take:
- Click on the Download button near the top of the page.
- On the Download page, scroll down for the “Learn More” link for several devices, including Kindles. Or, you can simply click on the Overdrive link.
- On the next page, a column on the left leads to several book collections. Scroll down to “EBooks” and pick a fiction or nonfiction category.
- The list of books you see will tell you if copies are available, and even how many people are on the waiting list. A search box is at the top. Once you find an available book you want, click on the “add to cart” button.
- You’ll see the book, with two links at the bottom: “Continue Browsing” or “Proceed to Checkout.” Once you click on “Proceed to Checkout,” you’ll be asked for your library card number.
- At that point, Amazon takes over. At your home computer, you won’t even have to type in the name of your Kindle. Just confirm the book and click.
“It’s up to each library system to determine which titles they want to carry, hard copy or e-book,” Kramer said.
So if your closest library doesn’t have the book you want, it never hurts to get a card to another institution where the book might be available.
For Redondo Beach Library cardholders, an “e-books and audiobooks” link is on the site’s front page of the library website.
The link takes users to the Southern California Digital Library, where instructions and catalog await. This page is pretty self-explanatory. As in Step 3 above, a column on the left has links to the library’s catalog.
Palos Verdes digital services librarian Eric Adams has put the Kindle instructions on his library’s front page, in the form of a video tutorial.
Users can also click on the online resources tab, and then select “Overdrive Fiction and Nonfiction” under e-books to access the catalog.
The libraries of Torrance and El Segundo are not offering Kindle books. Hermosa Beach and Lawndale are part of the Los Angeles County Public Library system, so they have the same books as Manhattan Beach.
As thousands of new titles have been added to the county library catalog, Kramer warns, "There will be a queue for some of the more popular titles."