Hi everyone! I know things are scary right now, and many people may be losing jobs, temporarily without pay, or just struggling with boredom in quarantine. There have been a lot of discussions in author circles lately about free books, both marking them down to free and pirate sites. As people go stir crazy in their homes, the desire for entertainment becomes more acute. While I know it’s “easy” to turn to nefarious pirate sites, please don’t do that. One, it hurts the authors you love. Two, it puts your computer and devices at risk. Those sites don’t do what they do out of some misguided sense of goodwill and “making art free”. They do it to make money. If it isn’t through ads or charging for the material they stole (unbelievably, some do), it’s going to be through malware and things like keyloggers that can steal your cc info right off your computer.

Don’t use pirate sites.

So, barring your favorite author marking all of their books down to free — and lets face it, that is an unrealistic expectation and it’s not going to be happening — how can you afford the reading material that is going to keep you sane during these weeks cooped up at home?

Answer: libraries. Unfortunately, many are closed to the public during this time as well. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use them!

If you already have a library card, this is super easy. You can use to access either your library’s ebook services, and download content right from your library to your devices, or through services such as library2go, which you can log into with your library card in order to access legit library ebook services such as Overdrive.

Here is a helpful guide to how to use Overdrive with your ereader to read ebooks:

Here is a guide from Kobo

And another for Kindle

Just google your preferred ereader device and how to use library books on it to find directions if these don’t apply to you.

But what if you don’t already have a library card? What can you do? Well, many libraries today offer something called e-access cards or e-cards. These cards do not give you the ability to check out physical books, but you can access the libraries ebook database. Check your local library’s website to see if they offer this option. Make sure you check not only your city, but county library as well. Additionally, if you have a library card for a local college as a student or instructor, many places have thing like “library passports” that allow you to access any of the participating library’s e-databases as long as you hold a card with one of them.

Also, if your local library doesn’t have an e-access or e-card, maybe a family member’s does. I was able to use my Mom’s address (with my own name) to sign up with her local library’s e-card, which has a much larger database of ebooks than my small town. Once you have a library card, you can access Overdrive or the Libby app and borrow books without ever having to step foot outside your door.

Obviously, it takes a few more steps to set up your devices to borrow books from your library, but it’s worth it to support your authors (who still get paid when libraries buy our books), and avoid things like malware.