The short answer is...
None of them works well enough to be considered the "best."
We receive many queries on how to use eReaders, like a Kindle Paperwhite or a Kobo, with library eBooks.
Our advice has been that if you really want to enjoy the complete library eBook collection, please consider using a modern Android tablet or an iPad instead. If you do not mind the small screen, an Android phone or an iPhone will do the job as well.
Why eReaders do not work well with library resources?
eReader screens are best for your eyes, but their ecosystem does not work well with library eBook apps.
I call them library apps, but these are not developed or maintained by the Library. Some of you may not be aware of this, but libraries operate online-resource collections quite differently from our print collection.
As defined in our Collection Development Policy, “an electronic-resource collection is a collection of items in the form of online databases, e-books, streaming music, video and audiobooks, and various other services made available online.”
Public libraries do not usually purchase and own online resources like eBooks one by one as we do with printed books due to licensing restrictions and costs. Instead, libraries subscribe to online resource products from third party providers. All of these make up most of the items in our A-Z resources list.
Online resources for eBooks and eAudiobooks are best accessed via their own native Apps if they have one. This means you need to download those Apps onto your own devices in order to access and enjoy the content. A few examples here are Axis 360, Hoopla, and Libby (Overdrive).
Mostly, these apps do not work well with eReader platforms since they are usually made only for the iOS or Android. Moreover, they are only available via the Apple store or the Google Play Store. Only a few are available via the Amazon Appstore. If an eReader does not support installing apps from these app stores, it won't work.
Can I get library eBooks with an eReader?
Yes, you can borrow a small portion of the library's books, mainly some eBooks from Libby (OverDrive).
Depending on the device, the experience can be very different.
With Kindle eReaders like Kindle Paperwhite, You can read Libby (OverDrive) eBooks that have Kindle versions available. But only some do. Follow the steps in this Libby Help page to send a Libby book to Kindle eReaders. You can also watch a short video about reading Libby books with Kindle.
There is a built-in Libby (OverDrive) feature available for the following Kobo eReaders:
- Kobo Sage
- Kobo Libra 2
- Kobo Elipsa
- Kobo Nia
- Kobo Libra H2O
- Kobo Forma
- Kobo Aura ONE
- Kobo Aura Edition 2
- Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2
- Kobo Clara HD
This makes it a bit easy to borrow and read OverDrive books right from your Kobo. Follow the steps on Kobo's help site to get started.
If you're using an older Kobo eReader, like an earlier Kobo Aura, Touch 2.0, or Glo, the procedure is more complicated. You'll need to transfer library ebooks from a computer using Adobe Digital Editions.
Android based eReaders
Onyx Boox and Boyue are the most popular Android based eReaders.
With Onyx Boox, try to get a modern device with recent Android versions and you can install all the library Apps available in Google Play Store. Library apps do get updated frequently, and the Apps can be incompatible with older versions of Android.
With Boyue, the Android version for their devices is very old. The company has upgraded the Likebook Mars from Android 6 to 8 in October 2021. Considering the newest Android version is now Android 12, please avoid using Boyue devices with library eBooks.
How about recently produced tablets?
The story with tablets produced in recent years is much simpler and they allow you to enjoy more library books.
Amazon Fire Tablets
If you have an Amazon Fire tablet, you can install the library apps available in the Amazon Appstore. Please keep in mind that the number of library apps in the Amazon Appstore is limited. You will get better coverage with an Android tablet or an iPad.
If you have a modern iPad, You can install all the library Apps available in the Apple store.
Modern Android Tablets
If you have a modern Android tablet, like a recent Samsung Galaxy Tab, you can install all the library Apps available in Google Play Store.