Considering that Philadelphia was home to the nation’s first library, innovation comes naturally to the city’s library system.
Skipping forward more than 200 years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Free Library of Philadelphia offers a robust selection of downloadable e-books that could be compatible with the new e-reader or tablet device you may have received this holiday season.
Leaving no user behind, the library also offers the opportunity to download books for your desktop or laptop PC.
After the jump, our step-by-step guide — which is not without some expectations of experimentation — to check out free books and transfer them to your device of choice.
- Get a library card. Fill out an application [PDF] and drop it off at your local library branch to sign-up, if you haven’t already.
- Login to the Free Library’s online interface.
- Browse the available e-book titles:
- Visit the Free Library’s e-book section.
- Visit the Free Library’s companion EBSCOHost e-book search section. You’ll have to create a new account with EBSCOHost, but it should automatically link with your Free Library card account.
- There’s also the 34,000 titles available in the public domain, which the Library also has made searchable.
- Here at Technically Philly, we’re iPad users, so we’re partial to the e-reader solution offered up by iOS app Bluefire Reader. Follow the instructions for transferring e-books to Bluefire on your iOS device here. Bluefire Reader is also available for Android.
- The Free Library recommends using OverDrive Media Console for a variety of devices. Though we haven’t had a chance to experiment with the software, OverDrive provides answers and support for downloading e-books in its FAQs.
Folks who download ebooks are urged to make donations specifically to the Free Library’s Digital Media collection. Choose that “Electronic and Print Materials” option from the “Direct Your Gift” drop-down list.
Because of the incomplete nature of this guide, if you have any advice for specific devices to help users better their experience when downloading e-books, please add them to the comments below.