The library loans eBooks in three different formats: ePubs, PDFs and Kindle books. ePubs and (sometimes) PDFs are able to be read on non-Kindle type readers. Given a choice between an ePub and a PDF, generally you will want to choose ePub as it will be easier to read on a small viewing screen. Kindle books can only be read on Kindle readers.
The typical method for getting library books onto dedicated eReaders is to download the book to a personal computer, connect the eReader to the computer (with a USB cord that comes with the eReader) and transfer the book from the computer to the reader. However, there are currently two exceptions to this method. One exception is the Kindle eReader with Wi-Fi, which allows for searching for a book on any computer, public or personal, and then delivering the book wirelessly to the Kindle reader.* The other exception is the new Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1 eReader where the entire process is accomplished directly on the reader, no computer necessary.
Once you get into other types of devices, multi-use devices like tablets or phones, the process of getting a library book involves installing an “app” on the device, which provides an interface to look for a book in the library’s collection, download it and read it. In order to get an app, you need to have access on your device to an “app market” that has the particular app that you need, specifically the OverDrive Media Console app (for ePubs and PDFs) or the Kindle app. It is not impossible to get an app without access to a market that has it, but it is a little more convoluted. There are two tutorials below that demonstrate how to get an app when you don’t have access to the market, namely the Pandigital tutorial and the Philadelphia Inquirer Arnova tablet tutorial.
If you are undecided about the type of device you want to get, please view the eReading and eReader Basics tutorial below.
*A recent decision by Penguin Group requires a tethered delivery of Penguin eBooks to Kindle devices. In spite of confusing language on the OverDrive website, Kindle books that have been published by Penguin, are not able to be downloaded to a Kindle app. If you check out a Kindle book published by Penguin, you will encounter a roadblock at Amazon.com and you will not be able to get the book. Unfortunately the book will remain checked out to your OverDrive account until the loan period expires. To prevent this, please consider checking for the publisher before you check out your Kindle book. If it is a Penguin book, you could elect instead to check out the ePub file. In order to read ePub books you will need the OverDrive Media Console app on your device. It is available from the Android market and from iTunes.