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eReading Room

Library Books on Kindle: A Visual Walkthrough


Have you heard? Library books are now available to borrow on Kindle devices and other devices with Kindle reading software (Windows, Mac, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, Windows Phone 7) as well as their Kindle Cloud Reader (read without downloading software in your web browser).

Here is a walkthrough of how it works. (If you're scrolling-averse, check out this video from OverDrive.)

Go to Click on "View all eBooks" in the left hand column, and then when you see the results page click the box marked Available Now. There was a burst of activity after the announcement yesterday so many books may be unavailable to download now. (You can always put ebooks on hold by clicking Request Item. You'll get an email when the book is available to download.) When you find a book you want, click Add to eList.

Then either click Continue Browsing or Proceed to Checkout. I'm going to check out now!

Enter your library card number and PIN. You have this memorized, right?

Choose the length of lending period you would like. Note that the default is now 14 days! This is to help you get ebooks you have placed on hold more quickly. (You can return manually, if you log into Amazon and go to Manage Your Kindle.) If you need more than 14 days, choose 21. If you need less, choose 7. The ebooks will not be accessible after that time unless you check them out again. Now click on Confirm Check Out.

 You're checked out, now click Get for Kindle.

If you're signed into Amazon on your computer, it will recognize you. Make sure you're signed in with the right account. If you're not signed in, just click Get Library Book.

Sign in. If you don't have an account yet, you'll have to create one through I am a new customer. This doesn't require a credit card — just an email address and a password.

Choose where you'd like to have this ebook "delivered." If you've already linked a Kindle or a Kindle app they'll show up in the list here. Then click continue.

Now pop on your device and it should download over your Wi-Fi connection. If you're at the library or another Wi-Fi hotspot, you may have to manually connect first. Go to Menu → Settings → Wi Fi Settings → View → Connect to a network. You may then have to open the browser and follow any prompts on the page for the hotspot location. If the file does not transfer immediately, try going to Menu → Sync & Check for Items.

If you have a 3G model, or no Wi-Fi connection where you are, keep reading.

You can also start reading right in your browser using the Kindle Cloud Reader.

Here's the Kindle Cloud Reader. Do you have the free Know the Past, Find the Future ebook yet? Why not?!

If you, like my colleague Greg, have an older Kindle without Wi-Fi, or you have Internet service at home but no Wi-Fi, there are a couple additional steps to transfer the ebook file from your computer to the device. You'll have the option to download your ebook as a file. 

Connect your Kindle to the computer via USB and save the file to the Kindle's Documents folder. There are more images of what that looks like here. If you want to set up additional devices or see what you have checked out at any point, go to Manage Your Kindle.

How much more do you love your Kindle now? Tell us in the comments.

Print a copy of this walkthrough. [PDF format]


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

This is so amazing! Thank you

This is so amazing! Thank you so much for making this happen! It seems that there are many books that are not available on Kindle yet. Will you be adding more?


This is wonderful! Fast and easy. NYPL gets my full support. Thank you so much.


Great, but I wish that it provided an approximation on how long it will take before an e-book hold becomes available.


This is great - thanks very much for the post. Will you be integrating this into your new (and great) iPhone app? Would be excellent if we could not only find and reserve books from there, but also download.

Fantastic! Is there any

Fantastic! Is there any chance of the same functionality coming to Nook devices?

Hi, we have had support for

Hi, we have had support for Barnes & Noble Nook for some time. For more info see Nook Quick Start Guide:

If by same functionality you

If by same functionality you mean the ease of use that Kindles have with our eBooks, no. You have to use Adobe Digital Editions as the middle-man to transfer the books from your PC to your nook. The guide linked above explains the process pretty well. I would add that some of our patrons report better results with Adobe if the e-reader is plugged and recognized as a separate USB device prior to launching Digital Editions. If the e-reader is not plugged in first, Digital Editions sometimes does not recognize the device.

thanks Josh

I jumped to respond and wasn't thinking about the Kindle's ease of use vs. the existing transfer process for other devices. Thanks for the Digital Editions tip!

What's the return process for

What's the return process for Kindle books?

Go to --> Kindle

Go to --> Kindle --> Manage your Kindle, then sign in. You should see a list of all your books -- purchased and borrowed. On the line with the book you'd like to return, click on the "Actions..." button. You'll get several options and one of them is to return the book.

Place in queue? Returning an e-book before it expires?

1) Is it possible to check on one's current place in an e-book queue? It would be very helpful to be able to estimate how much longer the wait might be. 2) Is it possible to return an e-book before it expires on one's Kindle, if one finishes reading it earlier than anticipated--so that it may be passed on more quickly to those in queue?

Hi Alisha, good questions. 1.

Hi Alisha, good questions. 1. not right now, but that's a great suggestion, so thanks for posting it here. 2. Go to --> Kindle --> Manage your Kindle, then sign in. You should see a list of all your books -- purchased and borrowed. On the line with the book you'd like to return, click on the "Actions..." button. You'll get several options and one of them is to return the book. Just like in real life, the sooner you return the book after you're done with it the sooner someone else in the queue gets to enjoy. :)

transfer a library book from kindle archive to be able to read

I choose my book from the library and followed all the steps. The book was not downloaded. The library states the book was checked out and it is on my kindle in the archive section. it isn't bold like the other titles there and i cannot go to it. It jumps over this title. how do I get it so I can read. thank you natalie

incomplete download

From <a href="">amazon</a>: Book will not open / receiving an error message when opening a book. Possible cause: Incomplete file download. Delete the book. Restart your Kindle Keyboard by pressing Home > Menu > Settings > Menu and select "Restart." Download book again. If you continue to experience problems, please contact us. If you go to your Kindle account on it should keep a record of every book you've ever bought or borrowed until deleted. It might show if there were errors with the title there or you could attempt to re-send to the device. We have heard of this issue before and it seems to resolve by itself when the Kindle regains connection to Wi fi. Good luck.

Natalie - just had the same

Natalie - just had the same problem. I don't have wifi so had to download the library book that was sent to my Amazon account to my computer and then put it on my Kindle. But when I just sent the file to the Kindle, it showed up in the Archive section and could not be selected, just like you said. The trick is to copy the file from my Download folder where Amazon put it and then paste it into the "Documents" folder on my Kindle. Now it shows up with all my other books, ready to be read. To see your folders on your Kindle, if you are connected via USB cable to your computer: just go to "My Computer" and you will see the Kindle. Double-click on it, and then you'll see the Kindle folders. Hope this helps!



Wish List

Hi I love being able to get library books on my Kindle. Thanks. But my question - I can't figure out how to start a Wish List. I would love to be able to tell you which books I would like to see you purchase for the Kindle. How do you do this?

Hi Linda, glad to hear you

Hi Linda, glad to hear you are enjoying Kindle library books! If there are other books you'd like to see, please let us know with our Recommend a Title form and specify Kindle as the format.

Approximately what percentage

Approximately what percentage of the library's books are available for kindle download? Does the library plan to increase this in the near future?

We don't have the exact

We don't have the exact figure for Kindle books right now. We have 48,874 ebooks in our collection total (21,349 unique titles). Kindle-compatible books only became available to the public library market on September 21, 2011. Since then, we've been developing the ebook collection, actively identifying titles that support all major desktop and mobile devices including Nooks, Kindles, Sony Readers and iPads.

kindle charges through amazon?

I am new to this. I would like to buy a Kindle. I read that I can borrow library books and then download through amazon? Do I have to be a member of amazon "prime" to do this? This costs extra. Also, do I have to be wireless? I am not. In other words, other than the price of the Kindle, what are the other "hidden" or not so hidden charges? Thank you. Ann

Hi Ann, this post explains

Hi Ann, this post explains how the process works. You can download library ebooks for free to an Amazon Kindle or any other device that has a Kindle "app" for reading Kindle books. You do not need to be a member of Amazon Prime. There is a separate "lending library" for Prime users but it is not related to the program offered by public libraries. To download books from the library you don't even need a credit card, just an Amazon account. You do need wi-fi to transfer your files but you can use ours at the library, and use our computers to download the books if you don't have a computer. Hope that answers your questions. Stop in to if you end up needing help with your new Kindle!

Nothing is available

Hi I just joined and have been searching your eBooks titles but it appears that absolutely no books are currently available for "borrow". Is there a way to filter books currently available, and/or are there even books available at all???

Yes, ebooks are definitely

Yes, ebooks are definitely available! For popular titles, you may have to request to place a hold. This is great for titles you want to read eventually but don't need right away; you'll forget about them and then get an email notification when they're available -- I find it always gives me a wonderful surprise! To filter for books that are available RIGHT NOW, follow these steps: 1. go to <a href=""></a> 2. in the top far left under "eNYPL Home," click on <strong>eSearches</strong> 3. Under Expanded Search, select the format you need for your device (Kindle, EPUB, etc.) 4. Select a subject that interests you 5. Most Important: check the box <strong>Only show titles with copies available</strong> We hope you find something you like here! Make sure to follow <a href="">eReading Room</a> for great recommendations from our staff.

Doesn't say a word on how to

Doesn't say a word on how to download to ipod touch

this post is all about

this post is all about Kindle! For iPod Touch see here: <a href="">Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch [PDF]</a> or, download the Kindle app from the iTunes app store for Kindle format on iPod Touch.

Automatic Return

It is unclear as a first time eBook borrower if I need to explicitly return eBooks, or will they simply return at the end of the borrowing period?

No, you do not need to return

No, you do not need to return ebooks. They expire at the end of the lending period. You may still see them on your device but you will not be able to open and view them. You'll never get a late fee for an ebook. If you want to return early so that someone else may enjoy the book, you can, but the method of return varies by device.

Renew Kindlle book

How do you renew a kindle book before it expires?

If there are multiple copies

If there are multiple copies available, or you have the only copy and no one else is waiting, go ahead and return it ( and then check it out again. You'll have another three weeks and if you're going on vacation or something where you won't have Wi-Fi you can do it before you leave. If there is a waiting list for the title you will not be able to renew (by renew I mean check it out again) and you'll have to go back on hold to continue reading. The benefit you have with Kindle is that it will retain the spot where you left off as well as any bookmarks you created, any time you have the book checked out.

I have an Android phone with

I have an Android phone with the Kindle app and I downloaded the Kindle reader to my PC. My problem is, when I go from my library's page and click "Get for Kindle" I am taken to the Amazon site, but nowhere on there does it say "send to" or "get library book". I don't know how to fix this! Help me please!

Kindle App

I have the Kindle App for my Android phone and my PC. I checked out a book from my local library and when I click the "Get for Kindle" on their website, I am taken to It shows "Get your library download" but there is nowhere to choose which device to send it to or that says "Get Library Book". The only option I have (after I click on the title of my book) is to use one-click shopping, and I am afraid that will purchase the book that I have already checked out from the library. Can someone please help me??? Thanks! Trisha

Hi Trisha, First off make

Hi Trisha, First off make sure to do this on your PC in a browser. Some mobile devices will not allow you to check out the title on the mobile ebooks site, so instead you will see a BUY button on Amazon. So once you are on your PC, completing the checkout from the library, you click "get for Kindle," go to Amazon, and the click the yellow "Get library book" button on the right. (Don't click on the title of the book or you will go to the purchase page.) Once you click the yellow button you will be prompted to sign in to your Amazon account. Then you will have a choice of where to send the book. You can send it to your Android phone from your PC. The reason for this confusing state of affairs is currently Amazon cannot support the library loan feature on their mobile website. Hope that helps.

Kindle--3G vs WIFI

I am thinking about purchasing a Kindle. I would like to get the one with both 3G and WIFI capability. My concern is which setting it defaults to when downloading library books. I would like to download books directly to the device, i.e., without having to go through a computer. It seems this must be done only through a WIFI connection. If your Kindle has both of those settings, is there a way to do that? Thank you for your reply.

Hi Irene. Library books MUST

Hi Irene. Library books MUST be downloaded over a wi-fi connection. You check out books on a computer, and they are transferred wirelessly as long as you have a wi-fi network at home (or you can visit a library and use ours.) The 3G connection is for the delivery of books you buy from Amazon, so if you are away from home you can still obtain those easily. If you don't have wi-fi at home you can connect the Kindle to your computer using USB to transfer library books. So just to be clear, you do need a computer (at home, at the library, at a friend's) to complete the checkout process as shown above, but once you have done that, the book can be delivered to you anytime your Kindle is connected to wi-fi.

i only have a simple kindle

i only have a simple kindle and so when i am on it and click "get for kindle" it wont let me cuz i cant open multiple pages, which is annoying cuz i have limited access to another computer is there a way around this?

You do have to use a computer

You do have to use a computer to send the book to your Kindle. You can use the computers at the library to do this if you don't have easy access to one.

browsing Kindle ebooks

There doesn't seem to be a Kindle image on the left menu bar any more. I used to be able to browse books by clicking on the image and looking at titles with copies available, as suggested by this article. Now I can't find a way to browse through just Kindle titles. Any suggestions?

You're right, I'll try to

You're right, I'll try to update the post. Now you can go to eSearches and either choose Basic Search --> Kindle Book or Expanded Search --> Kindle Book + Available Now to just see books that are ready to check out now. Either way, make sure you click the green arrow for the type of search you are doing, Basic or Expanded.

Are academic journals

Are academic journals available (such as those available through JSTOR)?

Hi Patricia, are you asking

Hi Patricia, are you asking about getting academic journals on Kindle? You can access journals through our databases If you download an article as a PDF or text, you can send it to your Kindle using the email address associated with your device. More info at

Downloading to a Blackberry

Can you download ebooks to a blackberry torch?

yes. For touch screens you

yes. For touch screens you need Blackberry v4.7, for non touch screens v4.5 or newer. You also need an SD card. Full instructions here:


Hello, can I use my NYPL card to check out kindle books if the amazon kindle account that I use is in a different name?

Accounts under different names

Yes. Once you check the book out from us, you will be routed to the Amazon page where you'll be prompted to log in with any account (use the account that syncs to the Kindle you want to read on). It does not have to match your library account. But, you can only use one account per checkout, so if you send it to your spouse's account by mistake, for example, you'd have to check it out again and use your account. Hope that helps.

cant download on Columbus Day

is it possible that you cannot borrow a book on Columbus day? Library keeps flipping me to amazon, but only to purchase the book, not to download to my kindle.

There was a brief glitch that

There was a brief glitch that some may have encountered when accessing library Kindle titles on Amazon. Should all be working now.

Downloading ebooks

How do I go about getting PIN number for my library card.

If we have an email address

If we have an email address for you on file, you can use this to reset your PIN.

ipod touch

Can a library ebook be read as a Listen/audio feature on an ipod touch with Kindle app?

Hi Betty, you can read books

Hi Betty, you can read books on the Kindle app for iPod Touch but for audiobooks you will need the OverDrive app.

I have about a dozen authors'

I have about a dozen authors' names in the "Drop Down" box of the "Search" box. How do I delete the authors I no longer want????

Hi Samantha, what is the link

Hi Samantha, what is the link to the page or the location of the search box? Not sure which one you are referring to.

When i press borrow, amazon

When i press borrow, amazon kindle site says page not found. I can download other books this is related with this particular book. Now i cannot change downolas format to pdf or ebooks. I have waited long for this book.

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