Can you use your Kindle for library books?

Library BooksThere was an interesting thread this morning on Amazon’s Kindle forums concerning library use and e-ink Kindles. According to the opening post, “Many libraries are switching to 3M Cloud and using Axis 360 ditching Overdrive.”

The poster’s complaint is relevant because the 3M Cloud is not compatible with e-ink Kindles, only the Kindle Fire.  At at the bottom of 3m’s list of compatible devices, it says:

The 3M Cloud Library is not currently supported by Amazon. If you would like compatibility with your Kindle device not indicated above, please contact

However, the forum posts go on to point out that the problem with 3M is not Amazon’s. It goes on to note that 3M was created as a partnership between Penguin. the New York Public Library and 3M with the intention of creating a system that didn’t support the Kindle.  (Nate from the Digital Reader wrote an article about this back in 2012.)

Both Axis 360 and 3M are said to be cheaper for libraries than current Overdrive prices. It seems that some libraries use Overdrive along with one of the other systems, while other libraries are choosing with one over the other. For libraries who switch to 3M or Axis 360, patrons with an e-ink Kindle are left out in the cold.

Understandably, avid library users who own e-these unsupported devices aren’t happy.

Obviously, 3M and Axis 360 have been available for quite some time now. This thread made me wonder if library patrons are starting to see their libraries shift to other e-book providers.

Does anyone have any experience with this? What is your library using to lend ebooks? Have they changed systems? Please share in the comments. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Can you use your Kindle for library books?

  1. If your library is using Overdrive (mine does), you should be okay from what I gather. I did a quick search as I was writing and there are some places that are indeed using the 3M system.However, it is not clear if that use is exclusive. I am looking for info on how many libraries nationwide use each system and will follow up when I find out more.

  2. I have a 5th gen kindle right now, and my library uses overdrive. It works fine mostly, but there are sometimes titles that don’t offer a kindle download. That’s part of the appeal to me of less platform dependent readers like the afterglow 2. I don’t have to cross my fingers and hope everyone gets along. I can roll with the punches.

    • Exactly! I spend a lot of time on a computer and really want to read on e-ink at the end of the day. I have two Nooks and well as Kindles but wanted an e-ink Android device for apps like Scribd, Pocket and RSS feed readers.

      I do wonder if libraries who choose 3M or Axis 360 are aware that they may be shutting down access for some patrons? Most libraries really believe in open access.

      • My library seems very responsive and I get the impression that’s what librarians in general aspire to. On the other hand, having a larger quantity and diversity of titles on the same budget must be pretty tempting too. Or in the case of budget cuts, any lifeline to maintain their current status must be attractive.

        I wonder what kind of information overdrive gives them about their borrowers. Do they know if their patrons are checking out epubs vs kindle?

  3. My library switched as of today as are several libraries in my state. Overdrive (due to cost they say) ends and 3M will now be used along with axis 360. Very disappointing since I have a Kindle. When I first got the Kindle it didn’t work with Overdrive but that changed quickly and I am hoping the same will happen with 3M.

  4. I hope so too, Jerri. As a Kindle owner, I would be pretty upset.

    Have you let your library know how this affects you? Libraries really want to serve the needs of their patrons as best they can within their budget. If people put pressure on their libraries, hopefully libraries will in turn put pressure on the vendors to make books available for all e-readers. Or, perhaps, the loss of customers will encourage Overdrive to lower prices….

    My concern is that with all the library budget cuts, many other libraries will be facing this dilemma.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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