If you are new to using the library’s digital collections or have questions about a specific problem, start with our New User’s Guide. Then check this FAQ to get started on finding your answers.
- What kinds of digital content does the library have?
- How do I find this digital content?
- What different formats does the library offer to download?
- What downloadable digital content will work with my portable device?
- Is there an app for any of these collections?
- What software do I need to use the downloadable digital content?
- Does the library offer eBooks that are compatible with popular eBook readers such as the Kindle, Sony Reader, etc.?
- How does the Kindle work with library eBooks?
- Is everything downloadable?
- How long can I check out eBooks and eAudioBooks for?
- Can I place holds?
- Can I return titles early?
- Is there a limit to the number of eBooks I can check out at any one time?
- Can I download eBooks and eMedia to public computers in my library?
- When I check out eBooks and eAudioBooks, do they appear on my library account with the other items I have checked out?
- Why does the library have all of these different collections and websites I have to log into to download these titles?
- Why are there so many different rules about the library’s eBooks? Shouldn’t it all be the same?
- Why can't I find the title I want in e-format? I've seen it available for purchase!
- How do I suggest a digital title for purchase?
- Help! Help! I need more assistance!
The library offers thousands of eBooks, eAudioBooks, and digital music. Our eBooks and eAudioBooks include fiction, non-fiction, bestsellers, mysteries, romance, science fiction, children’s books, technology titles, test books, self-help legal titles, and more. Our digital music collection includes classical and folk music, as well as thousands of popular artists from Sony Music. We are always adding new titles. Most of this is downloadable, but some of it is read-online only.
Our eBooks and eAudioBooks are listed in our catalog or can be browsed directly through our Downloads page. Our digital music can be discovered on this page as well, and also directly through the Overdrive site (for classical and folk music). Please note that ePictureBooks from Tumblebooks are not included in the catalog.
Yes, most services offer free apps to make the downloading process easier.
- Search your app store for "OverDrive" for your iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Nooks, and Blackberry devices.
- Search for "OneClickDigital" to download eAudiobooks directly to your Android or Apple devices - but you do need to set up an account on the OneClickDigital site first.
- Search for "Blio" to download Axis 360 eBooks - again, you need to set up an account on the Axis 360 site first.
The Library’s digital content collections offer several formats:
- eBooks: PDF, Kindle, Blio, EPUB, and online-reading-only
- eAudioBooks: emp3, M4B, MP3, WMA
- eMusic: MP3, WMA
|Collection Name||Formats Offered|
|Overdrive||PDF, EPUB, and Kindle eBooks; MP3 & WMA eAudioBooks; WMA eMusic|
|EBSCO||MP3 & WMA eAudioBooks; M4B for iTunes users|
|Axis 360||Blio and EPUB eBooks|
Every device is different, depending on its hardware and software. Please see our chart below as a starting point. Device not listed? Get support and troubleshooting help.
|Device||Content that You Can Download and Use *|
|iPhone or iPod Touch||MP3 & WMA eAudioBooks, MP3 eMusic, PDF eBooks (with workaround - see note below), ePUB eBooks (iPhone only, with OverDrive app - see note below), emp3|
|iPad||MP3 & WMA eAudioBooks, MP3 eMusic, ePUB eBooks, PDF eBooks (with workaround - see note below), emp3|
|Android Smart Phone||MP3 eAudioBooks, MP3 eMusic, ePUB eBooks (with OverDrive app - see note below)|
|Sony Reader||PDF eBooks, MP3 eAudioBooks, MP3 eMusic|
|Kobo eReader||PDF eBooks, ePUB eBooks|
|Nook eReader||PDF eBooks, MP3 eAudioBooks, MP3 eMusic|
|Kindle||Kindle eBooks from OverDrive, Blio format eBooks from Axis 360 (for the Kindle Fire only)|
|Blackberry Smart Phone||MP3 eAudioBooks, MP3 eMusic, MOBI eBooks, ePUB eBooks (with OverDrive app - see note below)|
|Palm Smart Phone||MP3 & WMA eAudioBooks, MP3 &WMA eMusic, MOBI eBooks|
|Windows Mobile Phone||MP3 & WMA eAudioBooks, MP3 &WMA eMusic, MOBI eBooks, ePUB eBooks (with OverDrive app - see note below)|
|Creative Players||MP3 & WMA eAudioBooks, MP3 eMusic|
|Zune||MP3 & WMA eAudioBooks, MP3 eMusic|
Did you know? You can actually read PDF eBooks from Overdrive on your iPhone or iPad (but not the iPod Touch) with a free app called Bluefire Reader and a free bookmarklet; another way that doesn't use the bookmarklet.
OverDrive offers an app for directly downloading content, including ePUB eBooks, to iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Nooks, and Blackberry devices: http://www.overdrive.com/software/omc/. For more information, please review this cheat sheet about how to downloading to a mobile device (PDF link): http://www.overdrive.com/files/eBookHowToGuide.pdf.
The software you need depends on which service you're using and the format of the eBooks, eAudioBooks, or eMusic.
|Service||Content Type||Software Needed||Mac-compatible?||Burn to CD?||Transfer to device?|
|Overdrive||eBooks (Adobe PDF)||Adobe Digital Editions||yes||no||yes|
|Overdrive||eBooks (Adobe EPUB)||Adobe Digital Editions||yes||no||yes|
|Overdrive||Overdrive eAudioBooks (WMA)||Overdrive Media Console + Windows Media Player||no||some titles||yes (to devices that support DRM-protected WMA files)|
|Overdrive||eAudioBooks (MP3)||Overdrive Media Console||yes||yes||yes|
|Overdrive||eMusic (WMA)||Overdrive Media Console + Windows Media Player||no||no||yes (to devices that support DRM-protected WMA files|
|OneClickdigital||eAudioBooks (emp3)||OneClickdigital Media Manager||yes||no||yes|
|Axis 360||eBooks (Blio)||Blio Reader||only on devices||no||yes|
|Axis 360||eBooks (ePUB)||Adobe Digital Editions||yes||no||yes|
|EBSCO||eBooks (Adobe PDF)||Adobe Digital Editions||yes||no||yes|
|EBSCO||eAudioBooks (WMA or MP3); M4B for iTunes users||Download Manager + Windows Media Player or iTunes||yes||no||yes|
|Freegal eMusic (MP3)||eMusic (MP3)||none||yes||yes||yes|
The Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader all support at least one format used by library eBook services. The library’s eAudioBooks from OverDrive also work on a variety of devices as long as they support DRM-protected WMA files. All eAudioBooks from OneClickdigital work on the iPod.
Most of our eBooks, eAudioBooks, and digital music are downloadable. Some select titles are readable only online, and marked as such.
Most existing OverDrive eBooks can now be read on all Kindle devices or by using free Kindle apps on iPhone, iPad, Android, and other mobile devices. To check out Kindle Books, first, visit our Virtual Branch website (http://overdrive.sjlibrary.org) to browse, search, and check out. Click on the Kindle icon on the left to browse the titles. You can also use the Advanced Search option and limit by format. Then, when you decide to check out a Kindle Book, a "Get for Kindle" link will display. You will then need to sign in to your Amazon account. Then, choose which Kindle device or free Kindle app you want to deliver the title to.
Once you take advantage of this new Kindle/Overdrive service, your library card number and eBook checkout history, and any notes you take in your eBook, will become part of Amazon’s database.
Additionally, you may receive renewal or purchase messages from Amazon regarding your downloaded library eBook. These messages are not from SJPL, and do not affect the terms of your library check-out. SJPL never solicits purchases, nor charges fees, for any use of library e-resources.
Our digital content checks out for three weeks (unless you choose a shorter check-out period) at which point the file self-encrypts and is no longer readable. You can re-check the title out and un-encrypt it if you need it longer (and if there are no immediate holds on it).
With OverDrive, you can also choose to return ePUB and PDF titles early by using Adobe Digital Editions, and Kindle titles through Amazon.
You can place holds on all of our digital content titles that are check-out-able.
Yes, you can return OverDrive eBooks (but not eAudiobooks) early. Use Adobe Digital Editions to return a title early. If you're using an OverDrive app on a device, you can return early using the app.
Blio format eBooks from Axis 360 may not be returned early, but ePUB format eBooks from Axis 360 may be returned early using Adobe Digital Editions.
Each of our collections that offers downloads has its own internal limits, but there is no one overall limit. You can check out ten titles from Overdrive at a time, ten titles from EBSCO at a time, ten titles from Axis 360 at a time, and ten titles from OneClickdigital at a time.
Because the downloading of these large files consumes a significant amount of computing resources, at this time eBooks may not be downloaded in San José Public Library buildings.
No. You will need to log in to your OverDrive, Axis 360, EBSCO, or OneClickdigital accounts to see the status of your digital check-outs.
Unlike you, as an individual, the library cannot legally buy eBooks directly from Amazon or Audible and then loan that copy out to you. Libraries are currently legally required to purchase special library-licensed versions of these titles from intermediary companies that specialize in working with libraries. As a result, not all titles that are available to you are available to us, unfortunately. This state of affairs is due to some publishers not licensing their content for use in libraries. Libraries are working to change the current state of copyright law, end-user license agreements, and the digital rights management protections put on the digital copies we buy so that you can access what you want from the library on the device you choose. We will keep trying!
Because of the way libraries have to purchase digital content (see above), there are different collections and different rules for each collection. As a result, certain titles will be available in one of our collections, like Overdrive, while the next title you might want may be in our Safari eBooks collection. Your Overdrive bestseller title might be downloadable as an eBook as a PDF and allow you to transfer it to your smart phone, while the Safari eBook does not allow for downloading, but rather requires you to read it online on their website. We are working with the companies we contract with to simplify the various rules, formats, and platforms.
There may be several reasons. First, some publishers simply do not sell to libraries (see above). Others have raised costs so that purchasing a title may be prohibitive. This article from the New York Times outlines the issues involved quite well. If you would like to contact publishers directly, please contact Mana Tominaga, electronic resources librarian, for more information; her email is email@example.com.
Fill out our simple online Suggest a Purchase Form and we’ll do our best to meet your request!
Check out our Tech Support and Help Using Digital Content page, with links to FAQs for specific collections as well as ways to get direct support from the library staff.