Last Christmas, Santa brought me a Kindle, and to-date, I have purchased zero books for the device. I check out every book I read on my Kindle through the library system, which when you read 80 books a year, saves quite a bit of moolah. Of course, I have a system I use to check-out books efficiently and maneuver around deadlines that might not be optimal for my book reading. A couple things to note:
- Libraries have a limited supply of digital copies of books
- You can check-out most digital books for up to 21 days; no renewals
- Library cards are available from most cities/towns/counties, just by asking
- As long as you don’t turn on your wireless, you can keep the books for as long as you want
I have three library cards – one for my local library, one for my Dad’s local library and one from a town we visited on vacation. All three have adequate digital libraries, but no one library has all the books I would like to read. And all three use Overdrive to manage their digital collections.
First off, how to find the digital collection for your library. The easiest way is to visit your libraries website and do a simple search for a book you are interested in. I did that below for Henning Mankell, one of my favorite Scandinavian authors. As you can see, there are editions including Large Print, eBook, Book on CD, and Book.
I click on eBook and see the part where it says Connect to this resource Online? Click on that, and you get right to the Overdrive Catalogue for your library. Do it once, then bookmark it! From now on, go straight into the online catalogue and skip the main library search.
This is how I use my three accounts. First off, I keep a grand list of books I want to read on Goodreads. Go there and start your own list, it is so useful. Then, every 6 weeks or when my stack of reading materials runs low, I visit the three digital libraries I have library cards for. I search and find books that are on my To-Read list, add them to my personal Wait List on each, and wait for them to become available. Very rarely are they available exactly when I want them, usually I have to wait 2-5 weeks.
When the books become available, an email is sent and I follow the link, add the book to my Book Bag, check out using Amazon and make the book available to my Kindle. This is where it gets interesting.
If I have several books on my Kindle, I cannot get through them all in 21 days, which is the maximum amount of time I can check them out. However, this 21 days only counts if you connect your Kindle to wireless. So, if I leave the Kindle disconnected from wireless, then I can essentially keep the books as long as I want.
As I finish the books, I update my Goodreads, and when I am finished with the books on my Kindle, I go back to the digital library collections, find some new stuff, get the emails, download the books through Amazon and turn on the Kindle wireless again to upload them to my reader. Check the right side-bar of my blog (below Recent Posts) for my current reading list.
Its a process, but you know what, there are a ton of great books out there that need to be read and if I physically purchased them all, I would be broke and have no place to live. I also still use the regular library, audio books on my iPhone and good-old-fashioned book swaps with friends.
How do you read? Any tips and tricks to share?