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Open Library

Learn how to find e-books from the library to download or read online.

About Open Library

Open Library is a database of over two million digitized books, including classic and public-domain texts, as well as a growing collection of books of all kinds donated by libraries around the country. Books can be downloaded or read online. Open Library's browser-based reader lets you flip through scanned pages, preserving the experience of a printed book, but keyword-searching in the text is also supported. To find books – fiction or nonfiction, juvenile or adult, on all subjects and in a variety of languages – visit the homepage to get started:

FAQ: using Open Library

Do I need my library card?

No, Open Library is publicly available in North Carolina.

Can I download books?

Yes, most titles can be downloaded in PDF or EPUB format. PDFs are larger, containing scans of each printed page. EPUBs are smaller, text-only versions, but they may contain errors. A link to download Adobe Digital Editions, a free software that reads both formats, is provided when you check out a book.

Do I need an account?

Public-domain books (older titles) are available without logging in. To check out all other books, you'll need to set up an Open Library account, which allows you to borrow 5 books at a time.

How long can I borrow a book?

Public-domain books are always available. Other books will be checked out for 14 days (whether you read them online or download them). You do not need to do anything to return a book – your access will expire automatically. If you still need the book, return to Open Library to check it out again.

Can I download to my phone, tablet, or e-reader?

Yes, most likely. See Borrowing Books through Open Library for device-specific instructions.

Can I read a book in my web browser?

Yes, Open Library uses Internet Archive's BookReader, which offers single- and double-page displays, zoom, keyword-searching, and TTS (text-to-speech).

I have another question!

Contact the library staff or see:

How can I read it?

Some e-books are always available while others must be checked out. Here's what to look for:

What you see What it means
Read link with open book icon Always available to read online or download – this link will open the book in your browser
Borrow link with closed book icon Available to check out – you'll be prompted to log in to Open Library, then choose how you want to read the book
Read online link followed by links labeled PDF, Plain text, DAISY, ePub, DjVu, MOBI, and Send to Kindle Always available to read online or download – choose "Read online" to read in your browser or select another format to download
eBook link followed by text reading PDF, ePub, or in browser from Internet Archive Available to check out – you'll be prompted to log in to Open Library, then choose how you want to read the book
DAISY link with lock icon Available for download in the DAISY accessible format
(DAISY-Eligible users with print disabilities only)

You might also see an icon suggesting a book is unavailable:

Checked out - Join waiting list link with crossed out book icon

You may still be able to check out the book immediately, so try the link. If the book is in fact unavailable, you can place a hold (log-in required).

All websites, articles, images, videos, etc., linked on this site are provided for informational purposes only. External content is not maintained by James Sprunt Community College, nor does it represent the views of the College or its employees. Please notify the library staff if you have concerns about linked content. Students are expected to evaluate all web and print resources and to determine their appropriate academic uses. A hyperlink to a resource or article from these LibGuides does not constitute an endorsement of that resource or article by the library.

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