Specialized tools exist to aid libraries in lending digital media. These tools allow a Library to manage checkouts and use time limited DRM to enforce expiration. Click if you were really looking for Personal Library management.
 How it works
Many libraries have a web presence but require a locally obtained library card to use the web facilities to actually check out books. This reason is that the eBooks are purchased using local tax dollars. In some cases you can just download an eBook and keep it, but most of the time you have to actually check it out. Many of the libraries use a DRM system with time limited licenses so you do not need to return the book to the library. Instead, a book will just time out unless you check it out again. Libraries generally own a limited number of licenses per book and manage them exactly like a real book. Once the number of licenses have been used by customers they 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 or eBook Reader to read the book, and after you have a library card you can do everything from your computer at home or anywhere that can access the Internet.
If your library doesn't support this feature you might want to tell them about this page, where they can get the software to support it. Also see our page on eBook Lending Libraries for a list of some sites that do support this.
To date, the eBook formats for these service providers are PDF, ePUB, and MOBI although not all libraries support all formats. Nor are all eBooks from a given library available in all the formats it supports. Some providers have proprietary formats as well include special plugins for browsers. These are usually limited to online reading. Libraries may also lend audio books or music formats in WMA, which supports time limited checkout. Unfortunately, WMA with DRM support is usually limited to Windows players from Microsoft or the Zune portable device. Overdrive now has some support for MP3 audio books; these are generally loaned on an honor system.
Some libraries also support online viewing of certain eBooks using a browser. These may include audio embedded with images.
 Digital book lending platforms
- 3M Cloud Library, serving Canada and the USA
- Axis 360
- Ebook Library, also known as "EBL" (an ebooks.com company). They have similar features to Overdrive, but they have a different licensing model using both online and offline lending. They focus on PDF files, currently.
- EBrary provides library support for eBooks that use their plugin for web browsers. Currently, only Windows and Macs are supported. It can import PDF content.
- Hoopla Digital
- LibWise (a Fictionwise company). They have tools to permit libraries to do eBook checkouts. They support MOBI eBooks.
- Netlibrary provides eBook content for libraries in PDF format. They also have audio books.
- Overdrive is the largest supplier of eBook tools to public libraries. Overdrive has tools for publishers, retailers, and school libraries, as well. They also have a digital media search engine that anyone can use to locate eBooks. They support eBooks in PDF, ePUB, and MOBI formats, as well as audio books. For audio books they require their custom media player be used for the download. It is available for Windows and MacOS X.
- Scholastic BookFlix is a new online literacy resource that pairs classic video storybooks from Weston Woods with related nonfiction eBooks from Scholastic, to build a love of reading and learning. Aimed at children in K-3 grades.
- SimplyE, see "The New York Public Library Makes It Easier Than Ever To Borrow Free eBooks with New App SimplyE"
- Tumblebooks provides readable books, some with audio read along for children. These are only available to public libraries and schools, and patrons whose library or school supports this can use it from home. The format of these books require a browser to work properly, so they are not suitable for most portable readers. I do not believe there is DRM on these files. They have three different offerings: animated talking eBooks for young children, read-along-books featuring adjustable text and audio reading while highlighting the text, and pure streaming audio books (no checkout needed).