I was putting a book on my e-reader through the New York Public Library (NYPL), which I recently became a member of. While doing so, I realized that downloading an e-book is not as easy as 1, 2, 3. There is downloading and installing involved, accounts have to be made, and fire hoops have to be jumped through. It's kind of a big deal. Which is why I decided to put a list of steps one must take to get e-reading. Remember, though, that different libraries have different policies and use different vendors. If you are having trouble downloading an e-book, it is best to ask a librarian at your own library. They are trained in the software their library uses, and will be able to help you out.
Steps to Download an E-Book onto an E-Reader:
1. Look on library website to see what type of software you need. Adobe Digital Editions is very common. If you don't have it already, it is free to download. Don't forget to make an account! If you don't you will not be able to use the program. If you have problems installing the program, Adobe has online and telephone customer service available.
Another program you may need to download is OverDrive Media Console. This is used for audio materials, so if you want to download an audio book onto your phone, this will be helpful.
2. Look for a book! Processes for how to check a book out may vary from one library to another. At NYPL, you click on the book you would like to check out, and then on the right-hand side of the screen click on the button that says "request item." There may be more than one button that says this because you must request the format (kindle, ePub, PDF, etc.) that you want to download. Personally, I prefer ePub because it allows me to change the font, highlight, and look up words in the dictionary. However, you should use the format that best fits your own e-reading device.
3. If you are not already logged in, at this point you will be asked to enter your library barcode and pin number.
*Note: Unless you changed it, your pin number is probably the last 4 digits of your phone number. If you can't remember your pin, call the library information desk for help.
4. After you request an item, one of two things will happen: 1) you will be asked for your email address and be added to a hold list. When the book is available, you will be sent an email, and at that time you can download it, or 2) you will see a message that lets you know you have XX minutes to check out before the book is made available again. You can either check out right away, or keep browsing and check out later. You will have to find the check out later tab on your library's website.
5. You probably cannot download library books onto your e-reader wirelessly. Kindle users may want to double check. But, it's probably easier to just plug your e-reader into the computer, anyway.
6. Once your e-reader is plugged in and ready to go, you can download your book! There is probably a place on the library website with a list of books you want to check out. Look for something along the lines of "e-Checkout" or "e-List." This is where you will find the link or button to download the book.
Books download like any other item. If you use Adobe Digital Editions, it will open and you should be able to see your book. You should also see your e-reader listed. Drag the item you checked out into the e-reader folder.
I like to double-check my Kobo to make sure the book is there. I simply to to Applications (I have a Mac. I think if you have a PC you would look under My Computer, but I'm not positive), click on KOBO, and make sure I see the title listed.
7. To return books, you simply open Adobe Digital Editions, or whatever program you use, and go to the "borrowed" section. You will see an image of the book cover, and in the corner there will be a little arrow. If you click on the arrow to get a drop down menu, you should see an option to return the book. Click, and you're done.
At some libraries, at the end of the loan period the book will automatically return, and you will no longer have access to it digitally. Ask your librarian if this is the case at your library.
Loan times vary for different e-books, just like physical books. You can usually take out older books longer than new or popular books. When you check out the book, you should be able to see when it is due.
And that's pretty much it! Again, if you are having problems asking a librarian is your best option. They will know what programs the library is hooked up to, and can show you how to install anything you may need.