Answered By: Bruce Jensen
Last Updated: May 20, 2015     Views: 94

Although our databases don't yet offer seamless access via Kindle (unlike services available at Berks County's and other public library systems that enable direct borrowing through Amazon) there are ways to put many kinds of KU library database content on your Kindle.

As you know, your device is set up to load its files from the Kindle Store; even the library lending system referenced above operates through the user's Amazon account. So putting something else--such as a database article, or a non-Kindle book file--involves using a workaround. 

Perhaps the most straightforward is the excellent free software called calibre which works nicely with Kindle and many other e-readers. It converts files of various types to formats supported by our devices, and enables you to easily load items to your Kindle. You can install calibre on any PC, Mac, or Linux computer. There is also a portable version you can keep on a USB stick--this can be handy if you move around between machines or use KU/Rohrbach Library computer labs for your work.

A typical way to use calibre would be to download an article from a database and then use the software to convert it to the AZW3 format and move it to your device. You'll then be able to read it in the same way as the Kindle books you are accustomed to.

Other kinds of workarounds can be a bit more complex. Our EBSCO e-books, which are copyright-protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM) won't convert in calibre. They require a reader that can be authorized only with an Adobe ID, such as Adobe Digital Editions or the Bluefire Reader software. Using such books on your Kindle would entail procedures you might find more cumbersome, such as using the Kindle's browser to read, or risky, such as rooting your device to enable installation of third-party software.

We are always interested in learning about hacks that students discover to make devices more useful for library purposes, so please let us know if this answer helps and if you come up with alternative tricks that could help other library users.

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