EBook Lending Libraries
This page lists places where you can borrow modern and classic time-limited ebooks and audiobooks free of charge, or for a periodic fee. Be sure to check your local library's website too: if they have ebooks or audiobooks available, they may be your best source. You may also be interested in E-book stores, where you can purchase books and find some for free; and our page about Free eBooks.
Many public libraries and university libraries have a web presence but require a locally obtained library card or student ID to use the web facilities to actually check out books. This reason is the eBooks and audiobooks are purchased using local tax dollars or other funding sources specific to that institution or jurisdiction. In some cases, you can just download an eBook or audiobook and keep it, but most of the time you have to actually check it out. For digital content that must be checked out, many libraries use a DRM system in conjunction with time limited licenses, so you do not need to return the book to the library. Instead, it will just time out, unless you renew or check it out again. Libraries generally own a limited number of licenses per book and manage them exactly like tangible, paper books. Once the number of licenses have been used by customers, libraries won't let you check out a copy until someone else's license expires or is returned. The big advantage is that you can use your PDA, eBook reader, or other device to read the book, and after you have a library card you can do everything from your computer at home or anywhere you can access the Internet.
Many public libraries' digital collections are hosted by Overdrive. To find a digital library that is not listed in the next section, you can use Overdrive Search to find your library. However, some libraries use 3M Cloud Library, Axis360 from Baker & Taylor, EBSCOhost (login via your library website), Enki Library from MARINet, Freading.com from Library Ideas, Hoopla, or OneClickdigital, in addition to or instead of Overdrive. When lending libraries use multiple service providers, they make different book collections available though each.
As a library patron, you may not have a choice in the apps you use for library checkout or reading. You will need to check with your library and determine which reading applications and checkout systems they support.
There are also Internet eBook libraries. Because they need money to purchase new books and build their collections, some charge a periodic fee for access. Most allow anyone to browse the collection, so be sure to see if they have books you will want to read before paying a fee. No doubt, this will be a growing field in the years to come. Please add to this page if you know of a widely accessible eBook lending library, or if you prefer, add to the thread linked at the bottom of this page.
- The Worldcat article, "Find & Get Items From Other Libraries" (accessed July 15, 2016), provides the following list of digital libraries:
- British Library Online Gallery ("Discover the riches of the British Library")
- Europeana Collections ("Explore artworks, artefacts, books, videos and sounds from across Europe")
- Library of Congress Digital Collections ("Access to print, pictorial and audio-visual collections and other digital services")
- World Digital Library ("Search 14,290 items about 193 countries between 8000 BCE and 2000 CE")
Generally, libraries offer eBooks in one of three formats, since these formats are popular and have DRM that supports time limited checkouts. They include ePUB, MOBI, and PDF. In 2011, Amazon removed MOBI from most or all US libraries, and replaced it with AZW and its variations to support Kindle eBooks. At this time only Overdrive supports Kindle eBooks.
There are also specialized libraries that serve people with disabilities with eBooks. The one with the largest collection available globally is Bookshare, which as of April 2014 has over 100,000 accessible ebooks available globally and over 225,000 available in the United States, but only to people with print-related disabilities that qualify under copyright exceptions. Many countries have nationally-focused specialized libraries, an increasing number of which are offering eBooks.
Finally, there are also for-profit ebook and audiobook lending services that charge a periodic membership or subscription fee to borrow digital materials, such as Amazon Lending Library, Oyster Books, and Scribd.
 Widely Accessible Libraries and Subscription Services
- Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) - Free. Opened on April 18, 2013.
- Library of Congress - Free. The main library for the USA; contains lots of manuscripts and other historic documents owned by the US government. In particular, see the manuscript reading room for online reading from a web browser or downloads. Downloads are generally available in GIF and TIFF images, and in TXT and XML document formats.
- Open Library - Free. A source for more than a million classics. The books are in PDF and ePub from participating libraries. Classics can be downloaded or read online. Copyrighted books can be borrowed using Overdrive. This site is connected to the Internet Archive.
 Paid Subscription Ebook Lending Services
- Amazon Lending Library - For Prime customers, more that 700,000 Kindle formatted eBooks are available.
- Mera Library - Paid. Ebooks in a wide range of Indian languages - Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam - and in English. This is a subscription service that permits checkout (rental) for 1 month, maximum 2 books at a time.
- Oyster Books - A monthly fee-based reading service that streams books to one's device using the Oyster app. The app is available for many devices; a browser can also be used. They have over 1,000,000 ebooks.
- Scribd - A monthly fee-based reading service that streams books to one's device using the Scribd app or a web browser. The app is available for many devices.
- World Public Library - An annual fee-based membership ($8.95 as of June 2015) to "the world’s largest aggregator of eBooks" that offers over 3,000,000 PDF ebooks to read online or download and save for later", as well as edocuments and MP3 audio books.
 USA Libraries that offer cards online or by mail, to non-residents
These libraries currently allow non-residents to obtain cards without appearing in person. They offer non-resident cards by mail or online.
|Library||Cost||Overdrive eBook Fiction||Overdrive eBook Non-Fiction||Overdrive Audiobook Fiction||Overdrive Audiobook Non-Fiction|
|Brooklyn Public Library, NY||$50/yr||50928||28176||9432||4920|
|Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, NC||$45/yr, Seniors 62+ $35/yr||4608||1608||984||288|
|Enoch Pratt Free Library, MD||$50/yr||7272||2568||3336||1632|
|Fairfax County, VA||$27/year||10704||7392||6912||3264|
|The Free Library of Philadelphia, PA||$50/yr||17688||3960||2784||1512|
|New Orleans Public Library, LA||$50/yr||2064||1848||2400||1008|
|Orange County Library System, FL||$75/3 mos, $100/6 mos, $125/yr||57840||15768||9648||3744|
eBook numbers on the table above were taken on 2016-06-07.
 Limited Access USA
Note that some of the libraries listed below have non-resident library cards available for sale. Most libraries that offer non-resident cards require an in-person application for validation, such as Washington, DC, Hawaii State Public Library, and the New Orleans Library, in contrast to the USA Libraries that offer cards online or by mail, to non-residents.
- Huntsville-Madison County and Guntersville Public Library -- Thousands of titles available in epub, pdf, and overdrive audio.
- Greater Phoenix Digital Library -- Over 18,000 titles available; 7092 epub, 1347 mobi, and 17,383 pdf titles.
- Member libraries are: Apache Junction, Arizona State Library, Casa Grande, Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe
- If you do not live in the Phoenix area, you can apply for a library card in person at any branch library. Non-Resident fee is currently set at $40/year.
- Black Gold Library System -- Available to residents of the state of California. Apply in person at any branch library.
- As of April 2011 the collection includes 2485 epub, and 129 pdf titles.
- Long Beach Public Library -- Available to residents of the state of California. Apply in person at any branch library.
- As of May 2011, the collection includes 1299 epub, and 23 pdf titles.
- Los Angeles County Public Library -- Available to residents of the state of California. Apply in person at any branch library.
- As of April 2011, the collection includes 2884 epub, and 335 pdf titles.
- Los Angeles Public Library (City) -- Available to residents of the state of California. Apply in person at any branch library.
- As of April 2011, the overdrive collection includes 4250 epub, 243 mobi, 3086 pdf, 2298 wmv video, and 783 wma music titles.
- Northern California Digital Library -- Available to residents of the state of California. Apply in person at any branch library.
- As of April 2011 the collection includes 258 epub, 279 mobi, and 1747 pdf titles.
- As of March 2011 the support for Alameda County libraries seems to have been dropped.
- NorthNet Library System Supports the following County libraries
- As of April 2011, the collection includes 717 epub titles.
- Pasadena-Glendale Digital Library -- Available to residents of the state of California. Apply in person at any Glendale or Pasadena branch libraries.
- As of April 2011, the collection includes 100 epub, 1159 pdf, 141 wmv video, and 353 wma music titles.
- Sacramento Public Library -- Available to residents of the state of California. Apply in person at any branch library.
- As of June 2011, the collection includes 1554 epub, and 1006 pdf titles.
- San Francisco Public Library -- Available to residents of the state of California. Apply in person at any branch library.
- As of April 2011, the collection includes 4604 epub, 388 mobi, and 1460 pdf, 1565 wmv video, and 293 music titles.
- As of February 2015, the collection includes 53,000 epub titles.
- San Jose Public Library -- Available to residents of the state of California. Apply in person at any branch library.
- As of April 2011, the collection includes 2104 epub, 912 mobi, 3671 pdf, and 1172 music titles.
- Santa Clara County Library -- electronic text books from California free book imitative. They have eBooks and audio books from Overdrive, Technical eBooks from Safari, Playaway audio books, Bookflix, and Tumblebooks for kids. Apply in person at any branch library.
- As of April 2011, the collection includes 1210 epub, and 965 pdf titles.
- Santa Cruz Public Library -- Has books from 5 sources: Netlibrary, the Northern California Digital Library/Overdrive Download Center, Safari Computer eBooks, Tumblebooks for Kids, and the Gale Virtual Reference Library. They have eBooks, audio books, and music available.
- Santa Monica Public Library -- Available to residents of the state of California. Apply in person at any branch library.
- As of April 2011, the collection includes 2056 epub, and 134 pdf titles.
- Southern California Digital Library -- Available to residents of the state of California. Apply in person at any branch library.
- As of April 2011, the collection includes 293 epub, and 615 pdf titles.
- Colorado Springs - Pikes Peak Library District
- As of August 2010 the collection includes 469 epub and 1746 pdf titles.
- Denver -- Available to Denver Library patrons.
- As of August 2010 the collection includes 667 epub, 1149 mobi, and 3484 pdf titles.
- Douglas County Libraries
- As of August 2010 the collection includes 857 epub and 195 pdf titles.
- Fort Collins - Poudre River Public Library
- As of March 2011 the collection includes 899 epub and 85 pdf titles.
- Delaware's ebook collection Available to Delaware residents using their local library card. No PIN required. Catalog for all library items is statewide. Out of state cards Library cards to non-residents are available but you must obtain a library card in person.
 District of Columbia
- Washington, D.C. -- Residents are those in qualifying counties in the DC metro area and can apply online for an electronic download-only card number or stop in any branch for a resident card. There are non-resident cards with a fee of $20 a year which can be picked up, in person, at the Martin Luther King Library.
UPDATE: They no longer issue download only cards. You must go IN PERSON to get a non-resident card.
- Lee County Library System aka Download Depot -- Available to Lee County, FL residents.
- Library web site
- Also available to residents of participating SWFLN reciprocal borrowing libraries in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Monroe Counties. Eligible SWFLN libraries include: Ave Maria University, Charlotte County Library System, Collier County Public Library, DeSoto County Library, Edison State College, Florida Gulf Coast University Library, Florida Keys Community College, Fort Myers Beach Public Library, Glades County Public Libary, Hardee County Public Library, Hendry County Library Cooperative, Highlands County Library System, Hodges University Library, Lee County Library System, Okeechobee County Public Library, Rasmussen College Library, Sanibel Public Library, Southwest Florida College Library, St. Johns County Public Library System
- A non-resident card is available for $15 (valid for 3 months) or $60 (valid for 1 year). The card must be obtained in person. Obtaining a Library Card
- As of October 2011, the collection includes 13,167 ebook titles.
- Orange County Library System -- See library web site for residency requirements. Non-residents may apply online for a library card; the fee is currently $125/year. As of September 2011, the collection includes 12,810 ebook titles.
- Pinellas County Library Cooperative -- See About PPLC for list of member libraries and residency requirement. You can check out and download the following types of digital materials from the PPLC Digital Media Catalog: Adobe® EPUB eBooks, Adobe® PDF eBooks, OverDrive WMA Audiobooks, OverDrive MP3 Audiobooks, OverDrive Music
Indian River County (IRC) Library now offer eBooks. Details here http://www.irclibrary.org/overdrive.htm
- Cobb County Public Library -- Available to residents of Cobb County, people who own property or businesses within Cobb County, schools and businesses in Cobb County, and current Cobb County government employees. Non-county residents can obtain a library card; the fee is $25 per person (via cash or check) and are valid for one year. All applications must be presented in person. As of January 27 2013, the collection includes 2104 Kindle, 2260 Adobe epub, 1165 Adobe pdf, and 119 Open epub titles.
- Hawaii State Public Library -- Available to residents of the state of Hawaii and military personnel (with copies of orders). Non-resident cards are available; the fee is $25 and the cards are valid for 5 years. A pdf application form is available online, but the application must be presented at a library branch in person. As of July 2011 the collection includes 1188 epub, 6713 pdf, and 584 mobi titles.
- Boise Public Library --Available to  Boise Public and Garden City Library cardholders. Serves all patrons of Boise and Garden City library branches.
- Metro Library Network -- Serves registered patrons of either Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha or Marion Iowa libraries.
- Sioux Center Public Library -- Serves registered patrons of Sioux Center Public Library
- Chicago -- Available to residents of the Chicago area and some other residents of the state of Illinois.
- My Media Mall -- Available to card holders of participating suburban libraries in Illinois. Participating libraries include:
- Alsip-Merrionette Park Public Library District
- Antioch Public Library
- Arlington Heights Memorial Library
- Aurora Public Library
- Barrington Public Library District - serves residents of all or part of:
- Barrington Hills
- Deer Park
- Fox River Grove
- Hoffman Estates
- Lake Barrington
- Lake Zurich
- North Barrington
- Port Barrington
- South Barrington
- Tower Lakes
- some unincorporated areas
- Benton Public Library (Only if you are a city resident)
- Bloomingdale Public Library
- Bloomington Public Library
- Bradley Public Library District
- Brookfield Public Library
- Cary Area Public Library District
- Cherry Valley Public Library District
- Cook Memorial Public Library District
- Crete Public Library District
- Des Plaines Public Library
- Booth Library - Eastern Illinois University
- Elk Grove Village Public Library
- Elmhurst Public Library
- Evanston Public Library
- Flossmoor Public Library
- Fox Lake District Library
- Fox River Grove Memorial Library
- Fremont Public Library District
- Gail Borden Public Library District
- Glencoe Public Library
- Glenside Public Library District
- Glenview Public Library
- Grayslake Area Public Library District - serves residents of all or part of:
- Avon Township
- Highland Lake
- Round Lake
- Round Lake Beach
- Round Lake Park
- Third Lake
- Highland Park Public Library
- Huntley Area Public Library District
- Itasca Community Library
- CLC Libraries and Instructional Services - College of Lake County
- Lake Forest Library
- Lincoln Trail Libraries System
- Lincolnwood Public Library
- Morton Grove Public Library
- Mount Prospect Public Library
- Niles Public Library District
- Northbrook Public Library
- Palatine Public Library District
- Plainfield Public Library District
- Prairie Trails Public Library
- Riverside Public Library
- Rockford Public Library
- Rolling Meadows Library
- Schaumburg Township District Library
- Vernon Area Public Library District
- Villa Park Public Library
- Warren-Newport Public Library
- Wauconda Area Library
- West Chicago Public Library District
- Westchester Public Library
- Wilmette Public Library
- Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District
- Wood Dale Public Library
- Woodstock Public Library
- Zion-Benton Public Library
- North Suburban Digital Consortium -- available to cardholders at the following libraries:
- Algonquin Area Public Library District
- Crystal Lake Public Library
- Dundee Township Public Library District
- Ela Area Public Library District
- Indian Trails Public Library District
- McHenry Public Library District
- Park Ridge Public Library
- Skokie Public Library
- Indianapolis-Marion County - See library web site for residency requirements. Non-residents may apply in person for a library card. Current fee is $65/year or Indiana residents may purchase a PLAC (Public Library Access Card) from their local library system. As of August 2010, the collections consists of over 3800 epub titles.
- Indiana Digital Media - See an up-to-date list of Participating Indiana Libraries here Millions of downloadable eBooks (for Kindle, Nook, PDF & more readers) Audio, Video and Audiobooks. Currently available to members of the following Indiana libraries:
- Frankfort Community Public Library
- LaPorte County Public Library
- Monroe County Public Library
- Morrisson-Reeves Library
- Muncie Public Library
- Speedway Public Library
- Tippecanoe County Public Library
- Vigo County Public Library
- Westfield Public Library
- All you need is your library card number and PIN - no charges, no late fees & place holds for free (when your book is ready is available you'll receive an email notifying you that you have 3 days to log-in and check it out).
- State of Kansas Library - Available to anyone with a Kansas State Library Card which you can ask for at any Kansas Public Library
- Louisville, KY Public Library
- New Orleans -- Available to residents of the metro area of New Orleans. Nonresidents can apply by mail for $50 per year. 268 epub and PDF books.
- Maryland's Digital eLibrary Consortium Available to Maryland residents using their local library card. The following library systems are participants:
- Anne Arundel County Public Library
- Baltimore County Public Library
- Carroll County Public Library
- Caroline County Public Library
- Cecil County Public Library
- Enoch Pratt Free Library (Baltimore City)
- Frederick County Public Libraries
- Harford County Public Library
- Howard County Library System (5542 Kindle, 5379 ePub, 3870 PDF)
- Kent County Public Library
- Lower Shore Library Consortium
- Dorchester County Public Library
- Somerset County Library
- Wicomico Public Library
- Worcester County Library
- Montgomery County Public Libraries (4458 Kindle, 4246 ePub, 2970 PDF)
- Queen Anne's County Free Library
- Southern Maryland Regional Library Association
- Calvert Library
- Charles County Public Library
- St. Marys County Library
- Talbot County Free Library
- Western Maryland Regional Library
- Allegany County Library System
- The Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County
- Washington County Free Library
- Prince George's County Memorial Library System Digital Collection Available to residents of Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Northern Virginia with a valid Prince George's County Memorial Library System card.
- CLAMS - Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing -- Available to residents of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket who have a CLAMS library card.
- The Library Network --43 libraries in The Library Network a library cooperative in Southeastern Michigan offer free e-books and e-audiobooks for cardholders in participating communities. Library card number and PIN required for download.
- Midwest Collaborative for Library Services -- There are many participating libraries in the state. For example, it is available to residents of the Dearborn area where nonresidents can apply in person for $80 per year. It is available to residents of the Kalamazoo area where nonresidents can apply in person for $185 per year. It is available to residents of the Grosse Pointe area where nonresidents can apply in person for $100 per year.
- Rochester -- Available to residents of the state of Minnesota. Nonresidents can apply in person for $10 for two months. All library card applications must be made in person at the library and the applicant must have a photo i.d. with a current address.
- Omaha -- Available to residents of Douglas County. Nonresidents can apply by mail for $75 per year or $25 for 4 months.
- Las Vegas - Clark County -- Available to residents of the state of Nevada. Guest card for non-residents; expires in three months but is renewable. Apply in person with current ID showing permanent address. As of August 2010 the collection includes 275 epub, 839 mobi, and 3741 pdf titles.
- Reno - Washoe County Available to Nevada residents as well as some neighboring California counties. Full details for patron cards. Non-resident cards available for $50.00 per year. As of February 2, 2011, collection includes 1,372 fiction titles and 487 non-fiction titles. Of these, 1546 are ePubs and 317 are pdfs.
 New Jersey
- ListenNJ -- Available to patrons of Berkeley Heights Public Library, Cranford Public Library, Clark Public Library, East Brunswick Public Library, East Orange Public Library, Educational Testing Service/Carl C. Brigham Library, Hoboken Public Library, INFOLINK-CJRLC, Keansburg High School Library, Kearny Public Library, Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium, Linden Free Public Library, Mercer County Library System, Middletown Public Library, Millburn Free Public Library, Monmouth County Library, Montclair Public Library, New Jersey State Library, Newark Public Library, Ocean County Library, Princeton Public Library, South Orange Public Library, South Plainfield Public Library, Springfield Free Public Library, Summit Free Public Library, Trenton Free Public Library, West Orange Public Library, Westfield Memorial Library, and Woodbridge Public Library.
- ListenNJNW -- Available to patrons of Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Bernardsville Public Library, Centenary College: Taylor Memorial Library, Hunterdon County Library, M.A.I.N. (Morris Automated Information Network), PALS Plus Library Catalog, Phillipsburg Free Public Library, Sparta Public Library, Sussex County Community College, Sussex County Library System, and Warren County Library System.
- Somerset County -- Available to residents of Somerset County (Bound Brook, Bridgewater, Hillsborough, Mary Jacobs, North Plainfield, Peapack Gladstone, Warren Township, and Watchung branches).
- South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative -- Digital Download Center available to cooperative member libraries (Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic County Library System, Audubon Public Library, Avalon Public Library, Bridgeton Public Library, Burlington Township Libraries, Camden County Library System, Cape May County Library System, Cherry Hill Library, Collingswood Public Library, Cumberland County Library, Deptford Public Library, Gloucester City Library, Gloucester County College, Haddon Heights Public Library, Haddonfield Public Library, Linwood Public Library, Margaret E. Heggan Library, Margate City Public Library, Millville Public Library, Moorestown Library, Mount Laurel Library, The Ocean City Free Public Library, Pennsauken Free Public Library, Pennsville Public Library, Salem Free Public Library, The Free Public Library of Monroe, Vineland Public Library, Washington Township Public Schools, West Deptford Free Public Library, Willingboro Public Library).
 New Mexico
 New York
- Brooklyn Public Library -- Available to New York State residents. Non-resident cards are available; users may apply online, pay the fee online, and email a valid ID for card activation, allowing access to Overdrive website (as of July 2016). The fee is currently $50/year. As of July 2016, the collection includes 84367 epub, 73342 mobi, and 26211 PDF titles.
- Buffalo & Erie County -- Available to the following: Erie County residents, temporary residents and people who work or own property in Erie County. New York State residents of other counties can apply in person for $20. As of August 2010 the collection includes 1566 epub and 711 pdf titles.
- Nassau County Digital Doorway -- Available to Nassau County residents, only.
- New York Public Library (NYPL) -- Available to New York State residents. As of June 2009, nonresidents can no longer apply for a fee-based card. As of August 2010, over 15,000 ebooks are available (1563 epub, 5809 mobi, 13,321 pdf).
- Queens Borough Public Library System -- You may obtain a free library card if you live, work, go to school, or own property in New York State.
- White Plains Public Library (Westchester Library System) -- Available to residents who live/work/attend school in Westchester County / White Plains, NY. Nonresidents can apply in person for $75.
 North Carolina
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg County -- See library web site for residency requirements. Non-residents may apply online for library card and pay electronically to receive a card by mail; fee is currently $45/year (as of March 2013). As of August 2010, collection contains 105 ePub, 59 mobi, and 177 pdf titles.
- North Carolina Digital Library -- North Carolina Digital Library members include:
- Buncombe County, Catawba County, CMC Library Consortium, Davidson County, Gaston-Lincoln Regional, Haywood County, Hickory Public, Mooresville Public, Onslow County, Southern Pines Public, Caldwell County, Chapel Hill Public, Cumberland County, Forsyth County, Greensboro Public, Henderson County, High Point Public, New Hanover County, Rowan Public, and Transylvania County
- As of August 2010, the collection listed 638 ePub, 19 mobi, and 204 pdf titles.
- Some member libraries may offer non-resident cards (such as Chapel Hill Public Library at $60/year - must apply in person).
- Wake County -- See library web site for residency requirements. Non-residents may apply in person for a library card at a cost of $25/year. Collection went live August 2010 with 154 ePub titles.
- Akron-Summit County Public Library -- Available to residents of Summit County from OverDrive
- Clermont County -- Available to residents of Clermont County. Applications from nonresidents are accepted in person for free.
- CLEVNET -- Available to residents of the state of Ohio.
- Member libraries include: Cleveland Public Library, Barberton Public Library, Bellevue Public Library, Birchard Public Library, Burton Public Library, Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library, Clyde Public Library, East Cleveland Public Library, Elyria Public Library, Euclid Public Library, Fairport Harbor Public Library, Hudson Library & Historical Society, Huron Public Library, Kirtland Public Library, Lorain Public Library, Madison Public Library, Medina County District Library, Milan - Berlin Township Public Library, Orrville Public Library, Peninsula Library, Perry Public Library, Ritter Public Library, Sandusky Library, Shaker Heights Public Library, Twinsburg Public Library, Wayne County Public Library, Wickliffe Public Library, Willoughby - Eastlake Public Library.
- The following non-public institutions are participating members of the CLEVNET consortium: Cleveland Law Library, Global Issues Resource Center, Hawken School.
- The collection includes 12,262 Adobe EPUB, 13,717 Adobe PDF, and 5,329 Mobipocket eBooks. (February 2011)
- See this thread for details.
- Digital Downloads -- Digital Downloads is a collaboration of multiple libraries.
- Member libraries include: Bexley Public Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Fairfield County District Library, Grandview Heights Public Library, Greene County Public Library, Kenton County Public Library, Marysville Public Library, Pickaway County Public Library, Pickerington Public Library, Plain City Public Library, Southwest Public Libraries, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Upper Arlington Public Library, Worthington Public Library, Washington-Centerville Public Library.
- Some libraries may allow non-resident cards. Columbus Metropolitan provides free cards to all Ohio residents.
- The collection includes 1,890 EPUB, 4,030 Adobe PDF, and 308 Mobipocket eBooks. (February 2011)
- Ohio eBook Project -- The Ohio eBook Project is a consortium of member libraries.
- Member libraries include: Amherst Public Library, Archbold Community Library, Ashtabula County District Library, Auglaize County Public District Library, Avon Lake Public Library, The Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, Clark County Public Library, Clermont County Public Library, Columbiana Public Library, Community Library (Sunbury), Cuyahoga Falls Library, Delaware County District Library, Franklin-Springboro Public Library, Geauga County Public Library, Great Oaks Institute, Herrick Memorial Library, Kent Free Library, Lane Public Library, Lebanon Public Library, Lima Public Library, London Public Library, Louisville Public Library, Mansfield-Richland County Public Library, Marion Public Library, Mary L. Cook Public Library, Mason Public Library, Massillon Public Library, Muskingum County Library System, North Canton Public Library, Norwalk Public Library, Owens Community College, Portsmouth Public Library, Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, SEO Library Consortium, Shelby County Libraries, Sinclair Community College, Stark County District Library, State Library of Ohio, Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, Wadsworth Public Library, Westerville Public Library, Wright Memorial Public Library.
- Some libraries may offer non-resident cards. One example is the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County which allows you to apply in person for a fee of $25/year.
- The State Library of Ohio issues free cards to all Ohio residents.
- The collection includes 1,574 Adobe EPUB, 2,189 Adobe PDF, and 469 Mobipocket eBooks. (February 2011)
- SEO Library Consortium -- The SEO Library Consortium is comprised of the same member libraries as The Ohio eBook Project. Both web sites link to each other with the message "Didn't find what you need? Click here for more titles."
- The collection includes 1,077 Adobe EPUB, 4,892 Adobe PDF, and 854 Mobipocket eBooks. (February 2011)
- Metropolitan Library System -- Oklahoma City Metro Area library system; See the library web site for residency requirements. Non-residents may apply in person; the current fee is $40/year. As of August 2010 the collection includes 1218 epub titles.
- Tulsa City-County Audio and Ebooks -- Tulsa City-County Library System; Library use privileges for residents and non-residents may be found at Library Cards(PDF). The current fee is $50/year for non-residents.
- Oregon Digital Library Consortium -- A multiple member library system.
- Member libraries include: Albany Public Library, Astoria Public Library, CCRLS (Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Service), CRSN (Coastal Resource Sharing Network), Coos County Library Service District, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, Cottage Grove Public Library, Creswell Library, Crook County Library, Curry Public Library District, Douglas County Library System, Eugene Public Library, Fern Ridge Library, Gorge LINK (Hood River County Library and The Dalles Wasco County Library), Jackson County Library Services, Josephine Community Libraries, Junction City Public Library, Klamath County Library District, Lebanon Public Library, LEO Listens. Libraries in Clackamas County. Oakridge Public Library, Seaside Public Library, Siuslaw Public Library District, Springfield Public Library, St. Helens Public Library, Washington County Cooperative Library Services
- Several of the libraries offer non-resident cards; users must apply in person. Fees vary (Corvallis-Benton $90/yr; Eugene $120/yr; WCCLS $95/yr; Multnomah $135/yr). Multnomah County Library no longer participates in the consortium but offer both overdrive and 3M services.
- As of August 2010 the collection includes 6003 epub titles and 1043 pdf titles.
- Allegheny County Library - Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh -- See Titles and Information on lending requirements.
- The Delaware County Library System, www.delcolibraries.org also offers downloadable ebooks and downloadable audiobooks, downloadable magazines added in 2013.
- The Free Library of Philadelphia -- See library web site for residency requirements.
- Non-residents may apply online for a library card, pay annual $50/year fee electronically online and begin using ending services (e.g., OverDrive library) (as of December 2013). NOTE - You do not have to register in person. The first time that you want to remove "physical" material (books, movies, etc) you must show ID. Otherwise you can download audio books, e-books, movies, music, etc. as soon as you get your library card number and PIN via email.
- As of July 2011 the Overdrive collection includes 4844 epub and 1103 pdf titles, plus another 125 epub and 8 pdf of "open" type (DRM-free?).
- The Peters Township Public Library, Washington County offers downloadable ebooks and audiobooks.
- R.E.A.D.S. -- R.E.A.D.S. is the Regional eBook & Audio Download System of Tennessee. It is comprised of most of the public libraries in Tennessee but excludes the major city libraries (Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville-Knox County, and Chattanooga-Hamilton County). Some of the libraries allow non-residents from surrounding areas to get a free library card. As of August 2010 the collection includes 1361 epub and 5239 pdf titles.
- Bibliotech (Bexar County Digital Library) - Bexar County residency required.
- Harris County - See library web site for residency requirements. No information for non-resident applications was found on the web site. As of August 2010 the collection includes 659 epub, 795 mobi, and 3034 pdf titles.
- Irving Public Library - See this site for card requirements. Proudly serving the City of Irving, TX. Collection contains thousands of text and audio ebooks.
- Lubbock Public Libraries - See library web site for library card application. Must be a resident of West Texas to get a library card. Must send in card application with picture ID/Texas address. Non-residents of Texas are not eligible to receive a library card. As of January 2011 the collection includes 894 epub, 279 mobi, and 255 pdf titles.
- Pioneer - Utah's Online Library -- Pioneer is a multi library system which includes most, if not all, Utah public libraries with the exception of Salt Lake County. Some libraries offer non-resident cards such as Park City ($40/year), Logan ($100/yr), and Orem ($80/yr). As of August 2010 the collection includes 250 epub, 234 pdf, and 52 mobi titles.
- Salt Lake County -- See library web site for residency and application requirements. Out-of-county or out-of-state residents may purchase a card for $80/year or $40/6 mo. The collection includes 9123 epub, 5243 mobi, and 5795 pdf titles. (Accurate as of 2/9/11)
- Alexandria.lib -- ePUB, PDF, MP3 for portable devices.
- Arlington County -- Available to residents, students, and workers in Arlington as well as residents of reciprocal library jurisdictions.
- District of Columbia
- City of Alexandria
- City of Falls Church
- Fairfax County - Available to residents, students, and workers in Fairfax County as well as residents of reciprocal library jurisdictions.
- Fauquier County
- Loudoun County
- Frederick County
- Montgomery County
- Prince George's County
- Chesterfield County -- Chesterfield County library card is required.
- Fairfax County -- See library web site for residency requirements. Non-residents can apply by mail for a library card; the current fee is $27/year. As of August 2010, the collection includes 879 epub, 269 mobi, and 1892 pdf titles.
- Fauquier County -- Available to residents, students, and workers and residents of reciprocal library jurisdictions. Nonresidents can apply for $15 annual fee.
- The Mary Riley Styles Public Library for the City of Falls Church -- The NetLibrary database contains browse only books without downloading. Available to residents and those living in reciprocal jurisdictions.
- Loudoun County includes Overdrive, Netlibrary, and Safari IT books -- Available to residents, students, and workers of Loudoun County, as well as residents of reciprocal jurisdictions including not only the D.C. Metropolitan area but also Clark and Frederick Counties of Virginia, the Thomas Balch library in Leesburg, Virginia, and Charles County of Maryland.
- Virginia Beach -- See library web site for residency requirements. Non-residents may apply in person for a library card. The current fee is $35/year. As of August 2010 the collection includes 3134 epub titles and 1869 pdf titles.
- Seattle Public Library -- Available to residents of Seattle, and have reciprocal agreements with certain nearby libraries. Nonresidents who live in the state of Washington can apply for $85/year. As of August 2010 the collection includes 6657 epub, 5015 mobi, and 10422 pdf titles. Temporary cards are available for visitors, $25 for three months.
- King County -- Available to residents of King and adjoining counties. Patrons visiting longer than one month but less than six months may be issued visitors’ cards with a two-item limit. Non-resident cards apparently not available to anyone from out of the area. As of August 2010, the collection includes 244 epub, 2790 mobi, and 3900 pdf titles.
- Kitsap Regional Library -- Available to Kitsap County residents, as well as other Washington residents who live in "an area of Washington State that supports public library service." You'll also need to visit a library branch in person.
- Tacoma Public Library -- Available for free to city residents and certain non-residents. Non-resident cards are available at $28 for six months or $56 per year. Visitors can get e-cards that allow access to ebooks and other electronic resources, but can't check out physical materials.
- Timberland Regional Library -- Available to nearly all residents of Thurston, Lewis, Grays Harbor, Mason and Pacific counties.
- Washington Anytime Library -- Available for free to the patrons of any of the participating libraries (nearly forty libraries at last count).
Many of these systems also have reciprocal agreements so if, for example, you're a patron of Timberland Regional Library you can also get cards at Pierce County, King County, Kitsap and Seattle Public library. For more information check out the Reciprocal Borrowing Agreements
 Limited Access Outside of the USA
Australia has an excellent Public Library System, mostly based on local government areas. Whilst some limit memberships to their particular area and perhaps some surrounding ones, many offer memberships to residents of their particular state. Some also offer memberships to interstate residents. At the time of making this entry I have not come across any Australian libraries offering paid memberships or memberships to residents of other countries.
There are some libraries which allow those eligible to join online without physically visiting the library. Such memberships normally allow access to Databases and borrowing of ebooks through Overdrive and other services. There does not appear to be any list of such libraries, so I'm starting one here with two initial entries. If you come across more please add them.
 Libraries allowing online memberships without physical visit
- City of Port Phillip Library (Victoria) This library seems to accept interstate members. Online applicants are provided a temporary membership number, immediately. (Applicants choose their password/PIN during the application process.)
- Warringah Council Library (New South Wales) Policy is not clear but this library does accept NSW residents. Applicants receive a welcome email immediately upon applying, indicating their card will arrive in the mail.
 Libraries by State
 Western Australia
- Western Australia Public Libraries -- As of February 2014, the collection includes over 14,000 titles in epub and PDF formats. Free access available to members of over 230 WA public libraries. Some member libraries may have access to audiobooks and additional ebook titles.
- Calgary, Alberta Public Library -- As of August 2010 the collection includes 3390 epub, 92 mobi, and 1748 pdf titles.
 British Columbia
- British Columbia’s “Library to Go” -- As of August 2010 the collection includes 1920 epub, 240 mobi, and 5004 pdf titles.
- Manitoba Library System -- As of August 2010 the collection includes 2123 epub, 377 mobi, and 2597 pdf titles. One of the member libraries, Winnipeg Public Library does offer non-resident cards for $130/year.
 New Brunswick
Newfoundland & Labrador Public Library (eLibrary NLPL)
 Northwest Territories
 Nova Scotia
- Halifax Public Library - As of October 2013 has over 16,000 books in ePub and PDF formats
- Brampton Public Library
- Burlington Public Library
- Hamilton Public Library
- Kingston Frontenac Public Library
- Mississauga Public Library
- Oshawa Public Libraries
- Ottawa Public Library
- Peterborough Public Library
- Greater Sudbury Public Library
- Toronto Public Library
- Whitby Public Library
- Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Montréal, "BANQ" - National Library of Québec - Both English and French pages are available.
 Yukon Territory
- South Dublin Libraries
- NCBI Audiobook library
- Kildare Libraries
- Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Libraries
- Cork City Libraries
- Waterford City Libraries
 the Netherlands
- Almere - eBooks available
- Amsterdam - eBooks available
- Sittard-Geleen e.o. - eBooks available via netlibrary.com
 New Zealand
- Auckland Libraries Overdrive, Wheelers, BorrowBox, and others.
- Christchurch City Libraries OverDrive
- Matamata Piako Libraries
- Wellington City Libraries OverDrive, Bolinda.
- The National Library Board Singapore Requires a valid National Registration Identification Card (NRIC) or library card number to register.
- Singapore Public Library - This Library used to have access from anywhere in the world. Sign up as "Foreigner without FIN" They have more than 1 million eBooks. Recently this library has been terminating non-resident accounts with a message stating that the library is only for use of alien residents in Singapore.
- Biblioteca Rector Gabriel Ferraté - from the UPC - Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. This library makes eBooks borrowing.
- Biblioteca Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid) - As of June 2013, over 670 titles available only in epub format. Apply for a library card in person.
- Bibliotecas Municipales de Cartagena
- Universidad de Salamanca University of Salamanca Libraries. CIELO eBook platform uses XeBook software and VuFind interface.
- Instituto Cervantes
- Libraries in Sweden List of libraries which offer e-books. (Sorted by Län)
- Stockholm Public Library e-books Biblioteket.se - Stockholm Public Library
 United Kingdom
 England & Scotland
- Avon (Bristol, S.Glos, N.Somerset, Bath & NE.Somerset)
- Cheshire (unconfirmed reports of availability here - may refer to their here Virtual Reference Library, which provides online access to various subscription-only resources)
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- Windsor & Maidenhead
15 Welsh public library authorities have signed up to the Wales Library eBooks scheme. The service provides PDF and EPub books.
The councils that have subscribed as of April 2012 are:
- Merthyr Tydfil
- Neath Port Talbot
- Rhondda Cynon Taff*
- Vale of Glamorgan
Powys and Wrexham users need to register separately but all other authority users simply need a library card number and PIN.
- Bexley members can also borrow from Bromley and Lewisham
- Bromley members can also borrow from Bexley and Lewisham.
- Lewisham members can also borrow from Bexley and Bromley
- London Libraries Consortium Barking & Dagenham; Brent; Ealing; Enfield; Hackney; Havering; Newham; Redbridge; Richmond upon Thames; Tower Hamlets; Wandsworth
 Finding Libraries
Library software used to support libraries is only available from a few sources. Some of them provide a list of customers (i.e., participating libraries and other providers of digital material), which can be useful in determining whether or not your library supports eBooks from that source.
- 3M Cloud Library's "Find My Library" search tool, located in the bottom left corner of this page, allows users to "Lookup your library" in Canada and the USA
- Axis 360's "Find a Library" tool allows users to "Discover the libraries who are part of the Axis 360 community"
- Freading's "Chooser/Find Library" tool is accessible by clicking the Login button on the home page, selecting country, and then clicking "Find Library"; using additional drop-down menus facilitates more refined searches
- Hoopla Digital's "Choose Your Library" page automatically displays nearby libraries (based on a reading of the IP location of the device used to access it) as well as a drop-down menu one can use to browse and search for participating libraries
- "Overdrive Search" allow users to find their library by name or location; libraries that are using the Overdrive software are listed by library system/consortium
 Library DRM and Devices
Types of DRM used by libraries include:
- ePUB - The recently added ePUB in some libraries also uses Adobe protection, so the choices are similar, but only a subset of the PDF choices.
- MOBI (some mobi files use a .PRC extension) - In 2007, Amazon replaced MOBI in US libraries with AZW
- PDF - most widely used and compatible with the most devices
Types of DRM used by specific library lending systems include:
- Libraries using Freading only offer PDF and ePUB.
- Libraries using Overdrive are using DRM in one of three formats, PDF, ePUB, or MOBI (some mobi files use a .PRC extension). This limits the devices that are able to take advantage of the library offerings. The recently added ePUB in some libraries also uses Adobe protection, so the choices are similar, but only a subset of the PDF choices. In 2007, Amazon replaced MOBI in US libraries with AZW.
Devices and software known to work with library DRM include:
- Adobe Digital Editions, all mobile instances except the Kindle DX version support library checkout, including the Hanlin V3, the Hanlin V5, and the Netronix clones.
- Amazon Kindle can read AZW and books in MOBI format, but only after converting the latter using the Amazon Kindle Hack from igorsk. Be sure you check that the PID is recognized by the Library DRM system. If the PID works then the eBooks can be checked out. Unfortunately the conversion cannot be done on the fly by a Kindle eBook Reader. Please see the Visual Kindle Guide for instructions on how to use th PID hack.
- Android phones and tablets computers can read PDF or ePUB with Adobe DRM, using apps such as Aldiko, Moon+ Reader, or Overdrive. For Freading you need to download their app. Android devices can also read the MOBI and AZW formats, via the Kindle Reader app.
- Bookeen Cybook Gen3 can read MOBI format
- Hanlin V3 and its clones can checkout and read library eBooks in MOBI but not AZW format, by running a special program to set the date and clock. For more details follow the link.
- iPad, iPhone, and iPod devices can read PDF or ePUB with Adobe DRM, using Bluefire Reader, Kobo eReader, and other apps. Kindle Reader is also available for Apple and Android devices. For Freading, you need to download their app.
- iRex iLiad can read mobi format
- MacOS X can read PDF using Adobe Digital Editions and Kindle Reader for AZW files.
- Other PDAs can read mobi format using MobiPocket Reader, if it is supported on your PDA.
- Pocket PCs can read either format with Adobe Reader 2.0 or MobiPocket Reader (In the US, there is no reader for Kindle AZW.)
- PRS505 and the PRS700 from Sony can read PDF files and ePUB files checked out from Libraries, but only one format at a time. Sony suggests that for models PRS500, PRS505, PRS700, Reader Pocket Edition and Reader Touch Edition, you may not check out a combination of ePub and PDF formats for your Reader, and that you check out one file format at a time. For Reader Daily Edition, you may check out any combination of file formats as permitted by your local library. (Source)
- Windows PCs can be set to read all the DRM formats with Adobe Digital Editions, Bluefire Reader, Kindle Reader, or MobiPocket Reader (now Kindle in the US).
 Additional information
 Audio Books
Libraries may also support audio books or music formats in WMA that support time limited checkout. Generally this will require a copy of Windows Media player on a PC to support DRM, although some portable devices include this support. Some libraries lend MP3 files that do not have DRM.
Government and private libraries are also concerned with the preservation of electronic documents.
 Most downloaded eBooks
 North American Libraries with the largest collections
As of August 2010, the following libraries from the USA and Canada seem to have the largest ebook collections:
- CLEVNET Consortium, Northeast OH -- over 18,000
- Greater Phoenix Digital Library, AZ -- over 18,000
- Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA -- over 15,000
- New York Public Library (NYPL), Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, NY -- over 15,000
- Orange County, FL -- over 11,000
- Salt Lake County, UT -- over 9,000
- Lee County, FL -- over 8,000
- Oklahoma City, OK --over 7000
- District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL), Washington, DC -- over 7,000
- Oregon Digital Library, OR -- almost 7,000
- British Columbia, Canada -- over 6,000
- Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY -- over 6,000
- Los Angeles, CA -- over 6,000
- R.E.A.D.S. (Tennessee) -- over 6,000
- Calgary, Canada -- over 5,000
- Virginia Beach, VA -- 5,000
- Columbus, OH -- almost 5,000
- Clark County, NV -- over 4,000
- King County, WA -- over 4,000
- Manitoba, Canada -- over 4,000
- San Francisco, CA -- over 4,000
- San Jose, CA -- over 4,000
- See also
- "100 Extensive University Libraries from Around the World that Anyone Can Access" at collegedegree.com
- How many e-books does your library offer?
- Top 20 Audiobook Libraries
- Top 20 eBook Libraries
 Threads to review for more information
- Digital Editions and the public library
- Ebook readers and library books
- How many e-books does your library offer?
- Top 20 Audiobook Libraries
- Top 20 eBook Libraries
- Where are there eBook libraries??
- Your Library's E-book Results --- The Rankings!