Library Extension Turns Amazon.com Into a Branch of Your Local Library
A reader has tipped me to a Chrome extension which lets users browse Amazon.com and see if a book or ebook is available at their local library. It’s called Library Extension, and you can find it in the Chrome Web Store and in the Firefox Add-Ons.
Library Extension has been around since at least January 2013, but it just got discovered again in 2020. I think it’s a great way to reuse one of the better designed bookstore sites, but I do wish it weren’t still so limited.
It works with OverDrive, CloudLibrary, Axis360, and Hoopla. The developer also told me that support for RBDigital and BorrowBox should be added by the end of January 2020.
Once installed (and configured), simply browse book or ebook listings on Amazon.com, and Library Extension will insert an extra widget above the buy button with info on whether your library has the title in its catalog. For some libraries, you will also see results from the library’s audiobook, movie, music, and print book catalogs.
LibEx works with a lot of libraries in the US, Canada, and Australia, but not all. It can check a library’s ebook catalog with OverDrive and Hoopla, and in many cases it can also check a library’s print catalog (which is a lot harder than it sounds).
If it finds a match it will offer the option of checking out the ebook or placing a hold
I just tested it with a Harry Potter book, and LibEx found the audiobooks, ebook, and print books offered by my local library. (Only the print books were available, of course).
Do you use this plugin?
Juli Monroe May 21, 2015 um 3:32 pm
That is an awesome discovery! Saves me a step when looking up a book. My usual progression is 1. Check Scribd. 2. Check library. Cuts out a step, and if it’s in my library, and I’m not in a rush, I can skip Scribd.
Nate Hoffelder May 21, 2015 um 4:13 pm
It does cut out a step, doesn’t it? Now I just have to have a single tab open, and not two.
Andrew A May 21, 2015 um 4:22 pm
Author of the extension here! So glad to hear that you find it useful! I’m working on some improvement that will allow it to work on additional sites (like Goodreads, etc) and provide some richer details on the match details! I’m always happy to hear feedback and new library additions and feature suggestions (I’ve been getting a few thanks to this post, and will try to get to as many of them as quickly as I can!)
Juli Monroe May 22, 2015 um 9:03 am
If you could add Scribd/Oyster to the library additions, that would be awesome. I don’t know if they are open enough to allow your extension access, but that would give me everything I need in one place.
Goodreads would be great too!
Andrew A May 22, 2015 um 2:20 pm
Great ideas! I’ll see if I can get those on my backlog for future consideration!
Nate Hoffelder May 22, 2015 um 1:17 pm
Welcome! I’m glad it’s bringing additional attention. I think more people should use it.
Elaine May 21, 2015 um 5:10 pm
Thanks! This will be especially helpful when publishers decide to price ebooks for insane amounts of money.
August Wainwright May 22, 2015 um 1:19 pm
Hmm, just imagine if you could achieve the exact same results for indie authors. Like maybe via the eBooksAreForever.com API (shameless self plug).
Seriously, Andrew, this is really awesome.
Any plans to add a similar FF extension?
Andrew A May 22, 2015 um 2:20 pm
Yes! Though I can’t promise on any dates, I am hoping to release versions for both Safari and Firefox in the coming months!
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Fliss C May 28, 2015 um 8:42 am
Any chance that Library extension will come to the UK?
Andrew A May 28, 2015 um 11:22 am
The biggest challenge is often the catalog software in use at a particular library – if it is not already one that I have added support for, then it may take a while (at the moment) to get that library added with my current roadmap. But feel free to submit a request on the website and I’ll be happy to take a look!
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Darryl April 12, 2019 um 5:30 am
I’ve been using this extension for years now and it’s fantastic. If any particular library’s software is supported the Developer has always added it within days of request, at least in my experience. It simply never occurred to me that so many dedicated readers of e-books had not discovered it. I’m glad it has come up now in any event.
Anne Marble April 19, 2019 um 6:43 pm
It’s available on Firefox now! 🙂
Nate Hoffelder April 19, 2019 um 7:39 pm
oh, is it? The website said it was still in the works.
Faith January 8, 2020 um 11:07 am
My library does participate and I would love to be able to use this feature. Unfortunately, I don’t have a desktop or laptop. I only have my iPads and iPhone.
Is there any chance that this will be available for mobile devices sometime in the future?
Nate Hoffelder January 8, 2020 um 11:28 am
I think they assume that if you’re going to be on your mobile device you will just open the library’s app instead of Amazon’s?
Scott January 10, 2020 um 11:26 am
I’ve been using this for years. It’s saved me a lot of money.
Mml September 5, 2022 um 7:57 pm
Any chance of it coming to Android?