King County Library System adds Kindle e-books to collection

September 27, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

King County Library System users on the hunt for a popular title, like say, “I Don’t Know How She Does It” — a comic tale about a mother balancing children and a career — no longer need to head to the brick-and-mortar library for a paper-and-ink book.

The library system started offering e-books to Kindle e-reader users. The rollout came as Kindle maker started offering books for the device at libraries nationwide.

“With the increase in popularity of digital readers, at about last year’s holiday gift-giving season, we ramped up our digital collection significantly,” said Marsha Iverson, public relations specialist for the Issaquah-based library system. “We kind of saw of it coming and got a little bit ahead of the curve, so we do have a good selection of digital downloads.”

Before the announcement Sept. 21, the library system offered books only on other e-readers, but not the popular Kindle. The library uses e-book distributor OverDrive for digital titles.

Nationwide, readers can download Kindle books at more than 11,000 local libraries.

On the Web

Learn more about the King County Library System’s Kindle downloads and other e-book options at the library system’s website,

In the local library system, Kindle users can select titles from a vast catalog — though not quite as vast as the old-fashioned catalog — for direct-to-device downloads. Once a title’s time allotted to a user expires, the e-book disappears from the Kindle.

The setup does not mean unlimited supplies of popular titles. Libraries offer a limited number of Kindle downloads per title. (“I Don’t Know How She Does It,” for instance, accrued a waiting list late last week.)

Users do not need a Kindle or another e-reader to download the digital titles. In the case of the Kindle, readers can also download digital titles to Kindle smartphone, tablet and desktop apps.

“Starting today, millions of Kindle customers can borrow Kindle books from their local libraries,” Jay Marine, director, Amazon Kindle, said in a statement issued Sept. 21. “Libraries are a critical part of our communities and we’re excited to be making Kindle books available at more than 11,000 local libraries around the country.”

Readers can also use the Kindle and related apps to jot notes on pages and, in a sense, dog-ear pages for later reference.

“We’re even doing a little extra here — normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no,” Marine said. “But we’re fixing this by extending our Whispersync technology to library books, so your notes, highlights and bookmarks are always backed up and available the next time you check out the book or if you decide to buy the book.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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