This week, Amazon launched its Kindle Library Lending service. Today, I finally had the chance to take it for a spin myself.
As it so happens, my local public library is one of the 11,000 that are participating in the Kindle Library Lending launch. However, one of the first things I discovered was that there is really no centralized way of finding out how to access the library ebooks -- you'll need to do some hunting on the Internet.
The MobileRead site has a preliminary listing of lending libraries that support Overdrive. That led me to the Digital Library NJ site, which is a cooperative of different county libraries in my state.
Alternatively, you can check out the Overdrive website itself, which will allow you to check if your local library system is participating.
This can be a little tricky. I had given my Mom an iPad for her birthday and my Dad was given a Kindle for Father's day, so naturally I wanted to find out if they could get e-books lent to them.
My parents live in South Florida, but their exact town wasn't listed. Instead, on Overdrive, I had to look up the largest city in the same county, Boca Raton, which led me to the Palm Beach County Digital Collection.
Once you have actually located the web site that serves the libraries in your municipality, it's a simple matter of clicking on "Login" and plugging in your library card number. Many of these sites appear to use similar interfaces as they use the same Overdrive technology.
Once you are logged in, you can browse from the book collection that exists for Kindle. As these books are under heavy demand, you might find that many are checked out already, so you will want to filter the results by "Only show titles with avaliable copies" if you want to have the book wirelessly sent to your Kindle immediately.
However, you can also place a "Digital Hold" on books that are already lent out, and your library will notify you by email when you can log back in and have the book sent to your Kindle-enabled device.
Once you've found a book that is avaliable for lending, you simply add it to your cart, hit "Check Out" and then the Overdrive service re-directs you to an Amazon login page, where it will prompt you for your Amazon ID and password. Once you've logged in to Amazon, your book listing will appear, and it will prompt you to download it.
That's all it takes to get a book lent to your Kindle.
Have you tried Kindle Library Lending yet? Talk Back and Let Me Know.