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The easiest way to get library books on your iPhone, Android or Kindle

If you're looking for a variety of Amazon packages that you order but have not yet read, try a different strategy: check out some e-books and audiobooks from your local library. It is much easier than before.

Libby is the much nicer and friendlier younger sister app from OverDrive, which is a rather chunky and uninviting way to transfer library titles to a device like your iPhone ($ 999 at Sprint) Android or Kindle bring readers. A help section called the Libby Academy is useful for navigating the app, but a simple, animated design makes it easier and more intuitive to use than OverDrive ($ 1

39 on Amazon) .

Getting Started

In the Libby app on iPhone or Android, tap the icon in the upper-right corner of the main menu. There you can add your library card number if you have one, or figure out how to get one near you. Some library systems allow you to get a library card online while others do not. For example, in San Francisco, you can fill out a form online or within the app, but you must personally pick up the library card within 30 days at one of the city's stores.

Select Libby Setup from the main menu to choose the download behavior (ie, if you want to automatically download everything, nothing, or titles below 20 megabytes), select your favorite readers, or, after you start the loan, the download edited titles.

Borrowing a Book

While browsing, you can read examples of e-books and auditions, borrow the title if available, or reserve it if there is a waiting list. If the title is available for rent, you can tap on the loan, learn how long the lease will take, and confirm that you still want it. Once you've successfully loaned the book, you'll have the option to read it through the app or Kindle. If you choose Kindle, you will be redirected to the Amazon website, where you can borrow the book and wirelessly send it to your device.

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Returning a book

Tap Shelf in the lower-right corner of the app's homepage. Tap Loans then Manage Loan (s) so that you can renew the book (if possible), return the loan to the library, or send it to a device.

Sounds good! What is the disadvantage?

As with OverDrive, the catalog of titles you see in Libby and the number of copies available for lending (including downloads) are determined by your library. So you may need to add to the wait list by tapping Place Hold within the specific book page. When you do this you will see how many copies are in circulation, how many people are waiting and how long you have to wait.

And sometimes these wait times are long – for example, if I wanted to review Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians from the San Francisco Public Library at the time of printing, & # 39; I have to wait nine weeks. Also keep in mind that lending your library can take from one to three weeks, which means you must be prepared to read it immediately or hear it when it's your turn.

For further reading : Six places to find free and discounted e-books.

A New Idea : The NYC Library releases classics on Instagram.

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