A precarious tower of books piled to the ceiling still provides a sense of pride and accomplishment at the words you’ve digested in your life. Perhaps you have a library, an actual room with shelves and a comfortable sitting chair, filled with the greatest words ever written in which you relish thumbing through dusty volumes trying to decide what to consume next.

Who wouldn’t?

All these things are great. The dim yellow reading lamp next to your favorite leather chair, the cardigan with the missing tortoiseshell button you always wear when nestled in for a night of reading.

Your favorite reading glasses.

But then it’s time for a vacation. Long hours on a plane, longer hours on a beach or by the pool or just in the hotel bed. You can speed through three, maybe five books during that time.

And that’s a lot of paper. Pounds of paper. Weighing down your suitcase. Your purse, your carry-on. Sure, you can buy paperbacks. Even add them to your collection when you get home.

But is that the best way?

Imagine now, instead of that armful of books you drag like a neanderthal dragging rocks, you had a single, thin slice of electronica: An ebook!

Ebooks are here and they provide an easy and much lighter way to transport and consume the words we love.

Sure, you can buy ebooks from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. But did you know you can also borrow ebooks from your library? For free?

Your local library has thousands of free ebooks than can be downloaded onto your reader. The only catch is you have to ‘return’ the books after 2-3 weeks. But you can always renew them, just like you can with physical books.

Here’s how to do it:

Find you local library’s website. If you live in the Raleigh area, it’s here: http://www.wakegov.com/libraries. Or in Durham: https://durhamcountylibrary.org/

Find the link on those websites for the ‘download library’ or ‘digital collections’ and from there look for a link to “Overdrive.” When you click on that, you’ll get a screen that looks like this:

Overdrive is a massive online collection of nearly every ebook available to libraries.

If you scroll through that list you’ll see thousands of ebooks. All of those ebooks (over 8500 from Wake County) are free to read!

If it seems daunting to scroll through 8500 titles, don’t worry. Use the search button at the top of the screen and type in your favorite author or book title.

Once you find that unread masterpiece, click on the ‘borrow’ button. You’ll have to log in with your library card if you haven’t done it yet.

The book has now been reserved for you. No one else can read the electronic copy of the book for however long you have it ‘out.’

However, it’s not yet on your e-reader. It’s been reserved, but not yet transported. Sort of like the shopping cart on a shopping website. The button you clicked to reserve the title should now say “Go to Loans” or something similar. Click that button:

Now you’ll see all the books you’ve reserved. Each will have several options to load it onto your e-reader. If you have an Amazon Kindle, go ahead and click the “Read now with Kindle” link. Follow the instructions and the book should show up on your e-reader.

 

 

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app to your iPad, iPhone or other tablet from the App Store and read all of your library books on your tablet!

You can also click the “Read now in browser” button and read the book right from your computer.

Another slightly more difficult option is to download the EPUB ebook. You would do this if you didn’t have an Amazon account and wanted to read the book on an eReader.

Here’s how to use an EPUB book:

Click the “Download EPUB eBook” button. A file will download to your computer. But you can’t do anything with that file. To load the book onto your e-reader, you will need to have the Adobe Digital Editions program (https://www.adobe.com/solutions/ebook/digital-editions.html)

Once you’ve installed Adobe Digital Editions on your computer, start it and add the file you downloaded from the Library. You can now read the book directly from Adobe Digital Editions or connect your e-reader to your computer and load the book onto your e-reader from Adobe Digital Editions.

Keep in mind, that even though you downloaded a file to your computer, there is still a time limit on how long you can read the book. If you borrowed your book for three weeks, it will stop working on your e-reader once the time is up, unless you renew the book through your library or through the Adobe Digital Editions program.

There are many other ways to read free e-books, in fact, if you search the web for “free e-books” you’ll find links to many. It could be worth exploring some of those links, but none will be as easy as using your local library. If this is your first time reading e-books, go through what your library has to offer. And if you have more experience or want to venture out from the best known authors, check out some of those links on the web. You can use Adobe Digital Editions to manage all those downloaded books.

If you ever need help with loading ebooks or your e-reader, just contact us!

And when you nestle into that leather chair, in your warm cardigan with the missing tortoiseshell button, you will push the button on your ebook to turn the page and it will be OK.

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