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Kindle books now available from 11,000 libraries

Service allows free checkouts from local library Web sites direct to a Kindle. This means that highlighting and margin notes in library books are no longer a problem.

Finally, it's possible to check out a book from your local library while blasting heavy metal music and avoiding the musty smell of the classics section.

Kindle book checkouts are now available from 11,000 libraries in the U.S.

The process is pretty simple: 1. Check with your local library's Web site to see if it offers the service. 2. Request the Kindle e-book you want with your library card. 3. You'll be redirected to sign in to your Amazon account so your e-book can be wirelessly delivered to your Kindle.


"This is a welcome day for Kindle users in libraries everywhere...We're thrilled that Amazon is offering such a new approach to library e-books that enhances the reader experience," Marcellus Turner, city librarian for Seattle, said in a statement.

Amazon actually isn't the first to the e-book lending game. As CNET noted yesterday, lots of Barnes & Noble Nook and Sony Reader users have similar programs at their libraries.

Amazon is happy to point out another advantage of digital library books: digital highlighters and margin defacing tools that won't get you a dirty look or your card yanked:

"Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we're fixing this by extending our Whispersync technology to library books, so your notes, highlights and bookmarks are always backed up and available the next time you check out the book or if you decide to buy the book," Jay Marine, Amazon's Kindle director, said in a statement.

Some CNET staffers already report successful checkouts from Brooklyn's public library system and others, but it seems that downloads of the e-book files to the Kindle may only available via Wi-Fi and not 3G for some reason. The available length of a single checkout varies by library.

According to Amazon, here are some of the benefits of the service:

• Whispersync syncs your books, notes, highlights, and last page read.

• Page numbers correspond to those in print editions.

• Facebook and Twitter integration lets you share favorite passages.

• Popular Highlights show Kindle owners' comments on passages in books.

• Public Notes shares people's opinions on books.

To see whether Kindle check-outs are available at a library near you, search via this Overdrive site.