It’s possible to borrow eBooks from Kent libraries and read them on a Kindle Fire HD (hereafter KFHD). The Kent libraries website has its own page describing how to do this. However, it’s not straightforward, and there are a couple of places where you might trip up. Hence this post which describes how to get it all working. I hope this page is helpful without being overly technical.

You’ll be installing an app, OverDrive Media Console (hereafter ODMC) on your KFHD, then authorising this with an Adobe ID so you can access the library’s DRM-protected eBooks. (DRM: Digital Rights Management, or, reflecting the impositions it places on the consumer, Digital Restrictions Management) ODMC isn’t available in the UK App Store (yet), so you need to download it and get it on to your Kindle, using the details in this article.

Note that this article relates to the situation in the UK: US users have an easier way of installing the ODMC app, as it’s in their App Store. Also, this may not work on a non-HD Kindle Fire; I can’t test it, although it may work.

Before you start, you’ll need to visit your local library with your card, and ask your librarian to set a PIN on your account. You’ll use this to sign in to the library eLending site using the ODMC app.

You’ll need your KFHD USB cable and a desktop computer (Mac or PC).

1. Downloading the app

Using a desktop computer (e.g. Mac or PC), visit the OverDrive Media Console download page, and on the right, select “Android”. Now the page should change, and give you a big download button, but it didn’t work for me. There’s a link under the download choices box saying “If your device doesn’t support Google Play, you can download OverDrive Media Console for Android from OverDrive.”. Choose that, and your browser should download ODMediaConsoleSetup.apk.

2. Getting it onto your KFHD.

(You may be able to email the ODMediaConsoleSetup.apk file to your KFHD’s email address; I didn’t try this)

The Amazon factory settings for your KFHD only allow you to install apps from the Amazon App Store. You need to change this temporarily, so swipe down your KFHD screen, then More+, Device >, “Allow Installation of Applications From unknown sources” should be “On”. You can set this “Off” once the app is installed.

Connect your KFHD to your computer.

If you’re using a PC, your KFHD “disk” should show up in Windows Explorer.

If you’re using a Mac, you need to install Android USB Transfer on your Mac, from the Android USB Transfer app page, then launch it.

Copy the ODMediaConsoleSetup.apk from wherever you downloaded it to on your computer to the “downloads” folder on your KFHD. Once done, eject your Kindle’s disk in Windows Explorer, or close Android File Transfer, and disconnect your KFHD.

3. Installing ODMC on your KFHD.

The app installer is on your Kindle, you just need to start the installation now. To install it, you need to install a file explorer, so visit the App Store on your KFHD and install the free “ES File Explorer” app.

Please note that with a file explorer, if you’re not familiar with your KFHD’s Android software, you can damage things. So please be careful!

Once installed, launch ES File Explorer, and tap the “downloads” folder. In there, you should see the ODMediaConsoleSetup.apk file you copied from your computer. Tap that.

You should be given some details of the app, and an option to install. Tap install; you may be warned about installing non-app store apps. Ok.

4. Getting an Adobe ID, and using the Kent libraries eLending site.

Start the Silk web browser, visit the eLending library page, and log in with your library card number and PIN. The site isn’t easy to use from a tablet, but once this initial eBook checkout is done, you’ll be using ODMC, which is easier.

Find, and check out an eBook. Proceed to the checkout, then choose to download the eBook. When you download the eBook to your KFHD, this will start OverDrive Media Console, where you’ll be asked to create an Adobe ID (or enter the details of it, if you already have one).

To create an Adobe ID, enter a valid email address and choose a suitable, memorable password. Choose not to be bombarded with marketing email.

You may need to switch back to Silk, and re-download the book. The eBook should then appear in ODMC.

Now you can use ODMC to browse Kent libraries, check out and return your eBooks.

Conclusions

This is fairly technical – if ODMC was available on the UK App Store, it would be much easier. Once you have ODMC installed, and authorised with an Adobe ID, borrowing books becomes quite easy.

The benefit is that there are no fines, and your eBooks automatically remove themselves from the KFHD when the borrowing period expires. You can add yourself to waiting lists for books, if they are “out” to other readers, mirroring the system for physical books.