A Bit About DRM: Before I jump into the subject of how you download free library e-books to a Kindle;  I have to point out that the process you use to download free library e-books to tablets, smartphones, e-readers, Macs and PCs is a bit different depending upon which device you are downloading library e-books to.

And you may wonder why that is – Why are there so many different ways to download library e-books?

And the answer to that is that the main reason is because of something called Digital Rights Management software. Digital Rights Management software, or DRM for short, is built into e-books by publishers. It is an anti-piracy tool and the intent is that it is supposed to make it hard or impossible for people to illegally copy and distribute e-books. However, the practical side of the equation for patrons of public libraries is that DRM makes it more difficult to download library e-books to e-reading devices than it is to buy e-books from an e-book seller. And the difference is because some how the DRM software has to be unlocked from the library e-book you’re downloading so you can read it – think of the book as being in jail and unlocking the DRM springs it so it can travel to your e-reader!

In contrast, if you buy an e-book from a bookseller, and assuming you already have done the prep work of setting up an account with the bookseller, than the download process is simple – you click a button that says “buy” and then enter a user ID (usually an email address) and your password and boom! The e-book downloads to your e-reading device in just a few seconds. It is literally that fast! And library e-books too download that fast – once you go through the process of unlocking the DRM software.

How to Download Free Library E-Books to a Kindle: And as far as DRM goes, Kindle owners have it easy! The download process for all Kindles, except the Kindle Fire and the first generation Kindle*1 is this:

  1. Go to the library’s website found at SSCLIBRARY.ORG
  1. Click on the link that says “STLS Digital Catalog” – it features white lettering in a green box and is located on the right hand side of the page about half way down the library’s home page – you may have to scroll down a little bit to see it…
  1. Search for an e-book  you’d like to read that has a Kindle version
  1. Click the Add to Cart link (and the My Cart page will display)
  1. Click the Proceed to Check Out link on the My Cart page (and the Sign in page will display)
  1. Select the Southern Tier Library System (instead of Penn Yan Public Library) from the drop down box in the Library field*2 (just click on the down arrow to the right of the word Library.)
  1. Enter your Library card number in the library card number field.
  1. Enter your PIN number in the PIN field (this is by default the last four digits of your telephone number)
  1. Click the Log In button on that same Sign in page (The Check Out page will display)
  1. Click on the Confirm Check Out button (on the Check Out page and the download page will display)
  1. And on the download page click on the Get for Kindle link – this will send you to the Amazon website to a page titled “Get Your Digital Library Loan” page; on the Download page click on the orange “Get library loan” link located on the right hand side of the page
  1. You will then be prompted to enter in your Amazon log in information (this is the email address and password that you use to purchase items from Amazon and/or buy e-books for your Kindle); the Please chose a device page will display and assuming you just have one Kindle registered to your account simply click on the continue button to send your library e-book to your Kindle
  1. Turn on your Kindle (And assuming you have a 3 G connecting Kindle or, if you have a Wi-Fi connecting Kindle, you are in range of a wireless (Wi-Fi) network – than your library e-book will almost instantly appear on your Kindle and you’ll be able to read it. If you have a Wi-Fi Kindle and aren’t in range of a wireless network – then the e-book will download the next time you take your Kindle somewhere where there is a wireless Internet connection – like our library! Come and visit us and you can download library e-books
  1. And read your e-book!

And if you read through that multi step process than you can see there are few more hoops to jump through, courtesy of publishers, to obtain library e-books – but the process to download Library e-books to Kindles doesn’t really require that many steps just a few more than if  you were to purchase an Amazon e-book.

*1. And Regarding the Kindle Fire and First Generation Kindle and the Kindle Fire:

The Kindle Fire: If you own a Kindle Fire than you are lucky! Currently the Kindle Fire is the only e-reading device that offers you the ability to check library e-books out to it – directly from the Digital Catalog! So all you have to do is turn on your Kindle Fire, be in range of a Wi-Fi network, go to the STLS Digital Catalog (the link is on the library’s homepage found at SSCLIBRARY.ORG), find a book you’d like to read and follow the log in process outlined above (follow steps 3-14) and the library e-book will appear on your carousel

The First Generation Kindle: The download process for the first generation Kindle, those are the ones from 2007, is a longer process that the 14 step process listed above. However, you can indeed download library e-books to a first generation! There is more pre-work involved but it can indeed be done. You have to have your own internet connected computer, download a piece of software called Adobe Digital Editions from our website and set up the software on your PC and then plug your first generation Nook into your PC before opening a web browser and going to the Digital Catalog, accessed through the library’s homepage, to look for a book to read. And the in essence what happens is that the e-book downloads to your computer and loads into the Adobe Digital Editions page where your first gen Kindle will be displayed as the e-reader you have plugged into your computer.

2. Field – when I say field you can insert the word box – field is computerese but I mean the box you can type in or select and option from…

And did I mention before that you can call the library and set up an appointment to go through the library e-book download process with a tech staff member? You can! Call us at 607-936-3713! You can even come in and check out the e-reading devices and tablets the library has for in-house use – just in case you’d like to window shop before you buy a e-reader or tablet.

And on a related e-reader subject very shortly, you’ll even be able to check out pre-loaded e-readers here at the library – and those are very simple to use because there is no download process – the e-books will already be on the e-readers!  And circulating e-readers will be coming in July so I’ll discuss that topic in more depth as soon as our pre-loaded e-readers are available to circulate.

And tomorrow I’ll discuss how you download library e-books to tablets and smartphones via the OverDrive app. And on Friday we’ll go over how you download library e-books to Nooks – so stay tuned!

And please feel free to visit our Youtube page and check out our How To Download Library e-books videos! Just remember the one little change in those very in-depth, step-by-step how to videos is that the E-Books and Audio Books link found on our homepage (that’s the one that you click on to access the Digital Catalog) is now called “STLS Digital Catalog” to illustrate the fact that the Digital Catalog now offers a handful of video and music titles to download as well as e-books and audio books.

Here’s the link to our Youtube page:


Linda R.

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