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Durham County Library is excited to offer its customers the ability to checkout ebooks and e-audiobooks that are compatible with a variety of devices including iOS, Android, Blackberry, Kindle, NOOK, and many others. Don’t have a mobile device? No problem. You can even read books on your computer.

If you’re just getting started, visit our ebook help page for links to helpful guides for many devices.

Once you’re ready, you can browse, check out, and download books via our ebook and e-audiobook catalog (OverDrive).

If you have any questions about ebooks, contact the library online or visit your library location.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ebook?

An ebook is the same as a print book, only it is formatted to be read electronically. Ebooks come in many different file formats and how you read them depends on the file format. The most common formats are:

  • .azw and .tpz are Kindle only formats. Ebooks purchased from Amazon can only be read on a Kindle or through a Kindle app on your smartphone or computer.
  • .ePub is the most common file format of popular ebooks sold and read. ePub books can be read on any e-reader except a Kindle.
  • PDF ebooks are common for academic titles. PDF books can usually be read on most any e-reader.

DCL will offer ebooks in all the formats available from the publishers. Please note that not all publishers offer ebooks in all formats. When viewing an ebook on the OverDrive catalog you will be able to see what file formats are offered for that book.

What is an e-reader?

An e-reader refers to any electronic device that allows you to read ebooks. There are both dedicated e-readers and non-dedicated e-readers.

A DEDICATED e-reader is an electronic device created primarily for the purpose of reading ebooks. These usually use e-ink displays that look more like reading text on paper rather than a electronic display. Examples of dedicated e-readers include devices like the NOOK, the Kindle, the Sony Touch and the Kobo.

A NON-DEDICATED e-reader is any electronic device that allows you to read an ebook. This can include an iPad, smartphone, or computer. Devices such as the Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet are considered non-dedicated e-readers since they can also perform more tasks than just reading books.

How many ebooks can I check out and for how long?

You may checkout up to ten ebooks or e-audiobooks at a time for 7, 14 or 21 days; you will choose when you checkout. Some ebooks may be returned early. The ability to return an ebook early is dictated by the publisher.

You may also have holds on up to 5 ebooks at a time.

Will I be fined for overdue ebooks?

No, there is no fine for overdue ebooks – but if you have more than $10 worth of outstanding fines on other items, you won’t be able to check out ebooks until the fines are resolved.

How do I get borrowed ebooks onto my e-reader?

There are two ways to get books to your device: (1) by downloading to your computer and then transferring to your device via a USB cable, or (2) directly to your device via the OverDrive Media Console application.

Transferring through your computer: Once you have found a book you want to borrow in our OverDrive catalog, click “Borrow.” The book will be placed on your Bookshelf. From there you will choose which format you want to download. If you have a Kindle e-reader or a Kindle app on your mobile device, choose “Kindle.” If not, you will need to choose the ePub format and install Adobe Digital Editions software on your computer and create an account. Once you have that setup, you can use the Adobe Digital Edition to transfer the book to your device.

Downloading directly to your mobile device: You will need the OverDrive Media Console app installed on your device. The app is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone. Once installed, you can browse the catalog directly from your device and download books in ePub format from within the app.

For more detailed information for specific devices, see our ebook help page.

How do e-audiobooks work?

E-audiobooks work in much the same way as ebooks. You can browse and check them out from with our OverDrive catalog and transfer them to your device just like an ebook. E-audiobooks come in the MP3 format and work on all devices and computers.

OverDrive also provides OverDrive Listen, which allows you to listen to an e-audiobook directly from your web browser without having to install any software to your device or computer.