How to Get Free Kindle Books With Your Library Card (2024)

You’ve always wanted to read Infinite Jest, and now you finally have enough time on your hands to get through all 1,079 pages. Sure, you could grab it from a local bookseller, or order it on Amazon. But you might be able to read a digital copy for free by borrowing it from your local library. With a library card, an internet connection, and an ebook reader, you can start reading the novel right away without ever leaving your house.

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Get Carded

First, you’ll need a library card. If you don’t already have one, visit your local branch to get one. Some libraries will give you a card without requiring you to show up. But check the website of your local branch to see whether you can get an electronic card issued online.

Get an App

Use your credentials to access your library’s ebook collection. Many libraries use Libby, a cross-platform service that lets you borrow digital versions of millions of ebooks and audiobooks and send them to your Kindle or Kobo ebook reader. You can scroll through Libby’s catalog in your browser, or download the app (Android or iOS) to peruse the selections on your phone. Most books you see listed are available right away. Once you find the book you want, you should be able to click a button, check the title out, and send it to your Kindle or other ebook reader.

Other libraries use Hoopla, which is a good option if you have an Amazon Fire tablet. You can’t send library books to an E Ink Kindle using Hoopla, but you can download Hoopla’s app to a Fire tablet and read the book inside the app on that tablet.

Browse the Shelves

When you first open the app, you’ll be asked to set up an account and connect it to your library card.

Some books, especially new releases or popular titles, will show a wait time and give you the option to get on the waitlist to borrow it. You might even have to wait as long as a few weeks or months to borrow a bestseller or a perennially popular title. This is because libraries don’t have access to unlimited copies of digital books; they only buy as many digital copies as they can afford, so they end up with a finite amount to pass around. The more popular a book is, the more scarce those digital copies become.

So relax and grab a spot in the queue. In Libby, once you request a loan, the app will send an alert once the book is available for you to borrow. You can also check the app periodically to see the current wait time as copies get returned to the library and the line grows shorter.


There are a few ways to read your borrowed book. You can read the book directly in the Libby or Hoopla app, but the best way to read is to send it to your Kindle device. We find a dedicated ebook reader to be a more pleasant, less distracting experience.

Setting up a Kindle to accept borrowed books isn’t hard. Within the Libby app, tap on the Actions menu at the top of the screen. Find the menu item “Read books with,” then select Kindle. The app will guide you through the process of linking your Libby account with your Amazon account.

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