Library Collection

E-books & Downloads : FAQs

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Library Closed Monday, May 29

All locations of The Seattle Public Library and the book drops at the Central Library will be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29.


Service interruption in the Library's Online Catalog – May 28 and May 29

The Library will be performing maintenance on our catalog starting at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 28 - 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 29. During this time, you will be able to search the Bibliocommons catalog, but will not be able to log in, place holds, renew items or use other catalog features. The former Library catalog (Horizon Information Portal), SPL Mobile, access to e-books, free music downloads and many databases and applications also will be unavailable.

E-Books & Downloads: Frequently Asked Questions

Getting started

How it works


Getting started


What are Overdrive, Freegal Music, Safari Tech Books, etc.?

The Library works with these companies to provide free digital and downloadable content to library card holders. These companies license the items to us for you to use. Most of our downloadable e-books and audiobooks are from Overdrive.

How do I get started?

Instructions are available depending on what device you are using:



How it works


OverDrive e-books and audiobooks

  • Requires software (see instructions)
  • May require placing a hold
  • Check out up to 25
  • Keep items for up to 3 weeks
  • Can return e-books early (use Adobe Digital Editions for EPUB; use Amazon account for Kindle)
  • Can return MP3 audiobooks early using the Overdrive App or from your PC computer using the Overdrive Media Console.
  • Checkout, Return, Renew, Holds opens in new window
  • No overdue fines
  • Compatible devices opens in new window


Travel E-Books Collection

  • Read online - always available
  • No software required
  • Save chapters as PDFs


Safari Tech Books 

  • Online only, cannot be downloaded
  • Limited to 10 simultaneous users at a time
  • No software required
  • Computer, programming, and business books


Zinio Online Magazines 

Browse the Zinio online magazine collectionopens in a new window

  • Choose from over 150 titles
  • Create an account and borrow magazines via a web browser
  • Download to read on the Zinio app for iPad, Android, and other devices
  • Always available, no returns, no due dates, some back issues included
  • For more help, see the Zinio help page
  • NOTE: You can only read single issues of magazines in the app. Use Zinio's online site to browse for magazine to checkout or to download new issues.



Freegal Music Collection

  • Music format: MP3 format and streaming
  • No software required
  • Download 5 songs per week
  • Stream 3 hours per day
  • Music files never expire
  • Works with Windows PC and Mac Computer
  • Transfer to most devices
  • Includes Sony Music catalog with thousands of artists



  • Streaming video, music, and comics
  • Apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod TouchAndroid and Kindle Fire devicesopens in a new window
  • Stream up to 20 titles per month
  • Music albums expire in 1 week, video expires in 72 hours, comics expire in 21 days
  • Works with most browsers on PC or Mac
  • 300,000 albums
  • 6,000 videos and television shows
  • 1,000 comics and graphic novels
  • helpopens in a new window





Did the Overdrive e-book or audiobook file not download correctly?

You can log in to your digital account and go to My Items Out to try downloading again.


Need more help?

Contact us for more troubleshooting help.

We will need to know:

  • Title of item(s)
  • Your Library card number
  • Description of what happened and any error messages
  • Computer operating system and version - for example: Mac OS X, Windows 7, etc.
  • What device you are using - for example iPhone, Creative Zen, Nook, Kindle, etc.
  • Have you downloaded books or media from the Library before?
Ask a Librarian
Need help with an OverDrive e-book?