How to Borrow eBooks from EPL: The Complete Guide

Interested in giving eBooks a try, but aren’t sure where to start?

Have no fear!

Just head over to epl.ca/eBooks where you can find all of the Edmonton Public Library’s eBook resources—jam-packed with more than 300,000 free eBooks!

Yeah, that’s a pretty overwhelming number. So let’s start by focusing on three of our most popular eBook resources: OverDrive, Freading and hoopla.

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to borrow eBooks from the library, this is your chance.

Already know which platform you're interested in? We've got step-by-step instructions for how to borrow eBooks on mobile, desktop and more for each of the following:

All eBooks are free to borrow with your library card. Don’t have one? Sign up for FREE online.

eBooks on OverDrive

OverDrive is our oldest and most popular eBook collection with access to the most up-to-date titles. EPL customers checked out over 1 million items from OverDrive in 2017 alone. Whether you need the latest John Grisham novel or your curiosity’s been piqued by Fire and Fury, we’ve got you covered.

OverDrive eBooks can be found and read online through our catalogue or the OverDrive website. The online catalogue and website will let you download eBooks to your computer and then transfer them over to your eReader for those lazy days on the beach.

For mobile reads, try out OverDrive’s app Libby which is available for Apple, Android and Windows devices. Libby offers a streamlined checkout process and doesn’t require an Adobe ID to create an account. It’s a brand new app and OverDrive is working to perfect the reading experience so you may notice new features and enhancements added regularly. Not sure how to get started? We walk you through how to use Libby, step-by-step below.

OverDrive eBooks can also be downloaded directly using your mobile device and the OverDrive app for Apple, Android and Windows 8 and 10 devices. Unlike Libby, the OverDrive app includes support for different languages and accessibility options.

Need some reading for kids? OverDrive offers a Kids Reading Room where you can set your children free to choose their own picture book, chapter book or read-along titles without worrying they’ll accidentally end up travelling through time with Diana Gabaldon’s NSFW Outlander.

How to Borrow eBooks on OverDrive’s Libby App

  1. Download the Libby app for Apple, Android or Windows mobile devices
  2. Open the app
  3. Follow the prompts to find your library and sign in with a valid library card
  4. Browse the collection and find a title you’d like to borrow
  5. Check that the title is available as an eBook (OverDrive offers digital audiobooks as well) by looking for the format beneath the image
  6. Tap on the title to be taken to its title details page
  7. You have the option to preview the book before signing it out by tapping the “Read Sample” button
  8. If the book is available, tap the “Borrow” button to sign it out
  9. If the title isn’t available, tap “Place Hold” to wait for an available copy (Note: the Libby app provides approximate wait times based on the number of copies and the number of users ahead of you in line—this info appears beneath the “Place Hold” button and you can tap it for further details)
  10. On the borrow page, tap the time frame beneath the title to select how long you’d like to borrow the eBook for (the default is 21 days, but you can also choose 14 or seven days)
  11. Tap the red “Borrow!” button to sign out the book
  12. Choose whether to “Keep Browsing” or start reading your selection by tapping “Go To Shelf
  13. Tap the “Open Book” button to begin reading
  14. Either swipe to the left or tap the right side of your screen to turn pages (do the opposite to go back); tap the centre of the page to see your progress through the book; tap the magnifying glass to search for a specific spot in the text; tap the bookmark icon to save your spot or tap the three line menu icon to access more reading options (such as chapters)
  15. If you finish reading with time to spare on your borrowing period, tap the “Manage Loan” button on the Shelf page to “Return Loan to Library” so that someone else can sign it out
  16. Happy reading!

How to Borrow eBooks on OverDrive for Desktop

  1. Go to epl.overdrive.com, login with your library card (you must use your barcode as OverDrive doesn’t recognize library usernames) and PIN
  2. Find the eBook you’d like to read
  3. Check that the title is available as an eBook (OverDrive offers digital audiobooks as well) by looking for the format beneath the image
  4. Select a book to go to its title details page
  5. If the book is available, click the downwards arrow on the side of the “BORROW” button to select the loan time period (21 days is the default, but 14 and seven are also available) then click the “BORROW” button to check out the book
  6. If the title isn’t available, click “PLACE A HOLD” and enter your email address in the popup form to wait for an available copy
  7. Once you’ve borrowed the title, click “GO TO LOANS” (Note: this section will tell you how many more titles you can borrow from OverDrive)
  8. Select the “Read now in browser” button to open the book
  9. Click the right side of the screen to turn the page forward or the left side to go back a page; click the bookmark icon in the top centre of the window to save your spot in the book; select the icon of a circle with lines of text inside it to switch between a one and two-page view; use the magnifying glass to search for a specific spot in the text; or click the three line menu button for more reading options, including an “Offline Access” option to store the book to read offline
  10. Happy reading!

How to Borrow eBooks on OverDrive for Kobo eReaders

These instructions are for all standard Kobo eReaders. If you have the Kobo Aura ONE, which allows you to borrow eBooks directly from OverDrive, get instructions on how to borrow eBooks from OverDrive help. OverDrive also works with some other eReaders, such as Kindle and Nook.

  1. Install and authorize the latest version of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) on your computer
  2. Connect your eReader to your computer
  3. Go to epl.overdrive.com and find the eBook you’d like to read
  4. Check that the title is available as an eBook (OverDrive offers digital audiobooks as well) by looking for the format beneath the image
  5. Select a book to go to its title details page
  6. If the book is available, click the downwards arrow on the side of the “BORROW” button to select the loan time period (21 days is the default, but 14 and seven are also available) then click the “BORROW” button to sign out the book
  7. If the title isn’t available, click “PLACE A HOLD” and enter your email address in the popup form to wait for an available copy
  8. Once you’ve borrowed the title, click “GO TO LOANS” (Note: this section will tell you how many more titles you can borrow from OverDrive)
  9. Click the “Download EPUB eBook” button
  10. If prompted, authorize ADE with a free Adobe ID
  11. Open the Library View in ADE (by clicking the “Library” button in the top-left corner)
  12. Drag and drop the eBook you downloaded into your eReader (this should appear on the left under “Devices”)—you may need to accept a file transfer prompt on your eReader in order for it to appear in ADE
  13. Disconnect your eReader and open your eBook to read it on your device the same as you would any other title
  14. Happy reading!

Preferred eBook reading device not included here? OverDrive has a comprehensive Guide to Getting Started that explains how to download or stream your eBook on a variety of platforms and devices.

eBooks on Freading

Freading offers access to over 85,000 eBooks that you can download immediately without any holds or waiting. With books from more than 1,100 publishers, Freading has a large collection of titles for all ages in fiction and non-fiction.

Freading offers more than 10,000 books from HarperCollins, including many titles from Harlequin. Its biggest strength though is in its non-fiction collection, which features the newest Lonely Planet Travel Guides alongside cookbooks, home and garden books, craft and hobby books, and even sports and recreation books.

Freading eBooks can be found through our online catalogue or through our Freading website. EPL customers can check out three Freading eBooks each week.

You can download and read Freading eBooks through your desktop, and transfer the files over to your eReader. Or you can download Freading eBooks on a mobile device using the Freading app for Android and Apple devices.

How to Borrow eBooks on the Freading Mobile App

  1. Download the Freading app for Apple or Android devices
  2. Open the app
  3. Create a free Adobe ID using the prompts in the app, or enter in your existing Adobe ID, and hit Authorize.
  4. Tap “Get Books” in the bottom right corner of your screen to visit Freading’s collection and checkout a book
  5. Once in Freading’s collection, tap on the “Login” button in the top left of the page
  6. Search for “Edmonton” and select “Edmonton Public Library” when it pops up under the “Select a Library” section
  7. Complete your login with your library barcode and PIN or your library username and PIN
  8. Find a book you’re interested in and tap on the cover to go to the book’s title details page
  9. Tap on the “Download EPUB” button under the book’s cover image (this will let you borrow the book for 14 days)
  10. The book will begin to download and when complete you will see a pop-up telling you “Download successful!”
  11. Choose whether to “Read Later” or start reading your selection by tapping “Read Now
  12. If you select “Read Now” your book will open
  13. Either swipe to the left or tap the right side of your screen to turn pages (do the opposite to go back); tap the centre of the page to see your progress through the book; tap the magnifying glass to search for a specific spot in the text; tap the bookmark icon to save your spot or tap the cog menu icon to access more reading options (such as text size or page brightness)
  14. Happy reading!

How to Borrow eBooks on Freading for Desktop

  1. Install and authorize the latest version of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) on your computer
  2. Go to epl.freading.com and find the eBook you’d like to read
  3. Select a book to go to its title details page
  4. Click the “Download EPUB” button under the book’s cover image to borrow the book for 14 days
  5. The book may automatically open in Adobe Digital Editions—if not, find the download file (.acsm) and prompt it to open in Adobe Digital Editions
  6. Click the right side of the screen to turn the page forward or the left side to go back a page; click the bookmark icon in the top centre of the window to save your spot in the book; select the icon of a circle with lines of text inside it to switch between a one and two-page view; use the magnifying glass to search for a specific spot in the text; or click the three line menu button for more reading options
  7. Happy reading!

How to Borrow eBooks on Freading for an eReader

  1. Install and authorize the latest version of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) on your computer
  2. Connect your eReader to your computer
  3. Go to epl.freading.com and find the eBook you’d like to read
  4. Select a book to go to its page
  5. Click the “Login to Download” button to sign out the book
  6. Log in with your library barcode and PIN or library username and PIN.
  7. After logging in, select the “Download EPUB” button
  8. If prompted, authorize ADE with a free Adobe ID
  9. Open the Library View in ADE (by clicking the “Library” button in the top-left corner)
  10. Drag and drop the eBook you downloaded into your eReader (this should appear on the left under “Devices”)—you may need to accept a file transfer prompt on your eReader in order for it to appear in ADE
  11. Disconnect your eReader and open your eBook to read it on your device the same as you would any other title
  12. Happy reading!

Check out Freading’s FAQ guide to help you create an Adobe ID and get started with Freading today.

eBooks on hoopla

The digital resource hoopla offers access to over 200,000 eBook titles for adults, teens and kids with no wait times. EPL customers can download or stream up to five hoopla items per month.

Hoopla eBooks can be found on hoopla’s website and app, and through EPL’s catalogue. Hoopla has a broad collection of eBooks but the real gem of its collection are its digital comics! Hoopla has a comic for everyone and offers access to both classic staples and the newest content from publishers like Archie, Dark Horse, Image, Boom!, Marvel and DC.

You can stream comics directly from your browser, or download them into the hoopla app for your Apple or Android device and start reading volumes of fantastic titles like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl or Saga today.

How to Borrow eBooks on the hoopla Mobile App

  1. Download the hoopla app for Apple or Android mobile devices
  2. Open the app
  3. Follow the prompts to create an account and sign in with a valid library card
  4. Use the book icon at the bottom of the screen to browse the comic, eBook, and audiobook collection to find a title you’d like to borrow
  5. Tap on the book cover to be taken to its title details page
  6. On the item page, tap the “Download” button to sign out the book
  7. Once the book is finished downloading, choose whether to keep browsing by clicking the back arrow in the top left corner or start reading your selection by tapping “Read”
  8. Either swipe to the left or tap the right side of your screen to turn pages (do the opposite to go back); tap the centre of the page to see your progress through the book—if you’re reading a comic, you can double-tap to zoom into panel-by-panel viewing mode
  9. Happy reading!

How to Borrow eBooks on hoopla for Desktop

  1. Go to hoopladigital.com 
  2. If you’re new to hoopla, click the “GET STARTED TODAY” button to follow the prompts and create an account with your library card and email address.
  3. Returning users can log in with their email address and password at the top of the page
  4. Search or browse for the eBook you’d like to read and click on its cover to open a title details page
  5. On the item page, click “Borrow” to checkout the book
  6. The book is ready to be streamed in your browser—click “Read” to open it
  7. Click on the left or right arrows to move forward and back, or use your keyboard’s left and right arrows to move forward and back through the book
  8. Click the menu icon in the bottom right corner of the page to bring up options, skip through the table of contents or exit the reader
  9. If reading a comic, double click in the centre of the page to turn on the panel-by-panel viewing mode
  10. Happy reading!

For more help getting started, check out hoopla’s FAQ or try these help videos for Android and Apple devices.

eBooks on Other Platforms

Now that you’re familiar with our major eBook offerings, you may want to check out some of our other digital resources that offer access to more specialized collections.

Cantook Station

Cantook Station offers more than 500 French eBooks, with titles available across all categories and for all age groups. View this resource in French by selecting “FR” from the language menu in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Cantook Station also contains English eBooks from Alberta publishers.

EBSCO eBooks

EBSCO eBooks has access to thousands of eBooks on popular do-it-yourself nonfiction topics. Many of the books are in PDF format.

Read Alberta eBooks

Read Alberta eBooks gives you instant access to more than 1,000 eBook titles from Alberta publishers. This collection features a variety of genres including literary fiction, graphic novels, poetry, self-help and young adult fiction.

Safari Tech Books

Safari Tech Books offers how-to eBooks on a number of subjects. Explore Microsoft Office products, digital photography, social media, PC maintenance, the latest mobile gadgets and more! And it’s easy to use, just click and start reading—no downloads or special viewers required.

Ready to start borrowing eBooks from the library? Sign up for a library card online and browse eBooks available at EPL to find a new read you're sure to love.

Find eBooks

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Edmonton Public Library