Enjoy Reading for FREE! – No eReader Required

Reading is my favorite way to pass time and escape from reality for a few moments. I’m averaging about two books a week but I don’t go to the library and I don’t buy books. There is no way I could afford to pay for the quantity of books I read, and there isn’t a library within 13 miles of my house, so how do I do it?
My favorite way to read books, especially new releases, is through Overdrive.com
Overdrive is a little confusing at first, here’s a breakdown of how it works.
1. You need an eReader of some sort. Overdrive accomodates the Kindle (and the free Kindle app on your smartphone or computer) but it’s not required. Overdrive has their own eReader software that is free, and available for your smartphone, tablet or computer. You can download the reader here. You can also download audiobooks to Zune or iTunes.
2. You need to get a local library card, each library system has their own Overdrive page. Your library card will only work for that system’s Overdrive page.
You can search Overdrive to see if your library system is a partner but it’s a long list to wade through. I recommend going to your library system’s website and looking for a link to download free ebooks, call your library if you can’t find it. (My recommendation: visit the county/city next to the one you live in and apply for a reciprocal card, it will allow you to download books from two library systems!)
3. Go to your library system’s Overdrive page and use your library card to log into and search for books.
4. Pick the books you want to read, making sure you pick the book in the right platform (sometimes the Kindle books are separated out from the other platforms).
Each library system uses Overdrive differently. I have cards for two county systems, one allows me to check-out 5 books and the other 3. Each library system has different books available, some have more than others but most libraries are actively growing their collection.
There is usually a waiting list, especially for the Kindle format, but Overdrive lets you know where you are on the list.
5. Check-out your book. You will receive an email when your book is ready for download, you have 3 days to download it. Log into your Overdrive account and click “my account” and check-out your book. Some systems will let you keep the book for up to 3 weeks, be sure to check if you have an extended borrowing option.
Overdrive format books are downloaded immediately to your phone or computer, your Kindle downloads will take you to a special link on Amazon to download the book (your Kindle does not have to be connected to your computer, just turn your wifi on)
That’s it. When you’re done reading you can simply return the book via Overdrive or Amazon’s Manage My Kindle. If you forget to return it no worries, the book will automatically return itself, there are no late fees.

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