Book ‘Em Dano: Three Ways to Borrow Books With a Kindle Device

Kindle Paperwhite 2015
Amazon

Growing up just before video games gained the stature they have now, reading books was my ultimate pastime as a kid. In an ordinary world, they were like passports to a whole new world filled with adventure, mystery, and learning.

Then again, I could only buy a certain number of books given my limited budget as a child. Given my unquenchable thirst for material to read, this made my fellow bookworms and the public library an excellent resource for extending my reading pleasure via good, old borrowing.

With the addition of ebooks to the mix, borrowing also now entails digital options that further widen your reading universe. This includes Amazon’s line of Kindle devices, which have dominated the market as the ebook readers of choice for a lot of people.

If you own a Kindle, whether it be an E Ink reader such as the Kindle Paperwhite and base Kindle or Amazon tablets such as the Kindle Fire HD or even the Kids Edition, then borrowing Kindle ebooks is available to you. Owners of the Kindle app for other mobile devices or the PC and Mac can borrow ebooks as well. Regardless of the device, you basically have three options for borrowing books:

Each method is pretty easy to use provided you have an Internet connection. Library borrowers also will need a library card and those using the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library must have an Amazon Prime membership.

Ready to borrow those ebooks? Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how you can borrow ebooks through each method.

Borrowing From Another Kindle Owner

If you know another Kindle owner, you can actually borrow ebooks from them for 14 days. As the borrower, you don’t even need to own a Kindle. That’s because you can borrow ebooks using the Kindle app on your smartphone, tablet or PC.

Note that periodicals such as magazines and newspapers can not be borrowed via this method as of this tutorial’s writing. Not all books are also available for borrowing.

Step 1: To borrow an ebook from another Kindle owner, he or she has to lend it to you first. In other news, boiling water is hot. On that note, the owner of the title will have to go to “amazon.com/mycd” and go to the ebook you want to borrow. From there he or she can access the “Manage Your Content and Devices” section of his or her account.

Step 2: Have the lender click on the “Action” box right next to the title of the ebook, which is denoted by an ellipsis. From there, click on “Loan this title.” If the option is not available, this means that the book is not eligible for lending.

Step 3: If the book is eligible for lending, you will get several fields that you can fill out. The required fields are the recipient’s email address and the name of the lender. The e-mail address should be the recipient’s personal one and NOT their Kindle address. Once the lender has filled out the fields, click the “Send now” tab.

Step 4: Once the book has been sent, check your email and open the message. In the email body, click on the tab that says “Get your loaned book now.” You will be prompted to sign in and pick a device to send the borrowed book to, then click on the “Accept Loaned Book” button.

If you don’t have a Kindle device, you will get instructions on how to download the book on your PC or Mac.

Step 5: To return the ebook, go to “Manage Your Content and Devices” via the “amazon.com/mycd” address. Next, to the title of the book you’re returning under the “Your Content” tab, check the box under “Select” then click on the “Action” box. From the pop-up menu, select “Return this book.” Confirm the return by clicking “Yes.”

Keep in mind that books only can be borrowed once via the same account with this method so you can’t just return the lent book and then borrow it again over and over.

The owner of the book also won’t be able to read it while it is being borrowed by another user.

Borrowing From a Public Library

Even with the advent of non-physical texts, the good old public library remains an option for borrowing ebooks as well. That actually warms the cockles of my heart. All you need is to do is find out if your library lends ebooks and you’re good to go as long as you have the requisite library card. Just because the books are digital does not mean libraries have unlimited copies to lend out, though. Like regular books, each digital copy is treated like one title and can only be borrowed by one person at a time.

Step 1: Find out if the public library lends out Kindle books. You can either check the library’s website or use OverDrive to verify that they do. To use the latter, go to your web browser and type “search.overdrive.com.”

Step 2: If the library lends out Kindle ebooks, go to their website and search for the title that you’re interested in borrowing.

Step 3: After you have found the book that you want, sign into your Amazon account once you get to the checkout portion. From here, select the device or Kindle app that you want to send the borrowed ebook to.

Step 4: If using a Kindle, connect it online via WiFi. You should receive the book automatically if the Kindle’s Whispersync functionality is activated. If not you will need to manually sync your Kindle. To do that, go to your Kindle menu and tap the Quick Actions tab (it looks like a gear). This will bring out another submenu.

Tap “Sync My Kindle.” You should get your borrowed ebook after that.

Borrowing through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

Fast, free shipping and the ability to watch shows typically come to mind first when folks think about the benefits of Amazon Prime membership. For Kindle owners, however, the service also provides access to a plethora of more than 800,000 ebooks via its lending library.

The Amazon Prime membership requirement is definitely a limiting factor for Amazon’s lending library program given how it requires a paid subscription. One advantage of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library compared to borrowing from a friend or the library, however, is that you aren’t as hamstrung by limits as far as selection goes. Once all the copies of a library’s ebooks are lent out, for example, you can’t borrow them until they are returned. With the Kindle Owners program, you also don’t have to deal with time limits for borrowed books, such as the 14-day period for titles borrowed from other Kindle owners or due dates for borrowed titles like you do with a traditional library. Books borrowed through the program also can be shared across your multiple Kindle devices. Just keep in mind that you can only borrow one book at a time.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for bookworms who want to check out any of the titles included in the service.

Step 1: Go to the Kindle Store from your Kindle device. From there, tap the menu icon, which is denoted by a vertical ellipsis as of the writing of this tutorial.

Step 2: In the menu, tap on “Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.” This will open up another screen where you can search for titles that you’re interested in checking out. You should see various categories such as Children’s eBooks, History, and Nonfiction. Otherwise, you can also tap the “All Kindle eBooks” category. Note that the available selection can change with each month.

Step 3: Once you’ve found the book you want, tap it to bring up a couple of options. One option is to buy the book outright but you’ll notice another button that says “Borrow for Free.” Pick that one and that’s pretty much it.

Once you regularly start using the service and have a book checked out, tapping the “Borrow for Free” button will bring up a menu option for returning your current book. Borrowed ebooks also get automatically returned if you cancel your Amazon Prime membership. On the plus side, any notes, bookmarks or highlights that you make on the borrowed book will be saved to your Amazon account, allowing you to see them again should you ever decide to borrow or buy the book in the future.

Returning an ebook to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is just as easy:

Step 1: To return an ebook, go to your browser and type “amazon.com/mycd” in order to bring up the “Manage Your Content and Devices” section of your account.

Step 2: Under the “Your Content” tab, you should see a list of titles that you have. Next to the title you want to return, click on the box under the “Select” column. Once it’s checked, click on the “Actions” tab right next to it, which is denoted by an ellipsis symbol.

Step 3: Clicking on the Actions tab will bring up a new pop-up menu box that lists various options. One of them will be “Return book.” Just click on “Return book” and it will return the current title you’ve borrowed, freeing you up to borrow another book in its place.

And there you go, the various ways to borrow books via your Kindle device or the Kindle app.

Jason Hidalgo is About.com’s Portable Electronics expert. Yes, he is easily amused. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhidalgo and be amused, too.