The next time you are searching Google for a particular e-book, you now have another option instead of buying it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo; borrowing it from your local library. Google now includes Overdrive e-books in the search results and users are taking to their local branches website to see if it’s available to checkout or get on the waitlist.
This new system is only available in the United States and it should be opening up into other markets in the near future. Here is how it works. On mobile, search for the book you’re interested in and click the “Get Book” tab that appears right up top, just under the book’s info. You will see a selection of ebook retailers where you can purchase the book and which local library branches have it available. On desktop, the purchasing and library information appears on the right-hand side of the screen, just scroll down to get to the library bit. When you click on the library you need a library card number and a four digit pin code, if you do not have one, you have to visit your local branch to sign up.
It remains to be seen if this is an exclusive relationship between Google and Overdrive or if other library systems such as 3M, Baker & Taylor or RBDIGITAL will eventually get involved.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.