DMPL Guide to eBooks and eAudiobooks

eBooks eAudio

With our buildings closed to the public, we know more people than ever are using our digital services, including our large collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks. For many people, this may be their first time using these services, or at least the first time using them extensively.

So here's a quick guide to mastering our digital collection apps, like Libby and RBDigital, as well as our new services, Romance Book Cloud and Audiobook Cloud.

Before we jump in, here are a few quick notes about our digital collection in general: 

1. If you don't have a Des Moines Public Library card yet, sign up for a digital card. It's free and will provide you access to all our digital products, including the ones we're discussing in the blog today. (Residency restrictions apply; see below.)

2. If you look through our digital catalog and can't find a book you'd like to read, be sure to let us know. Use the Suggest a Title page make your recommendations, and we'll see if it's available for us to purchase.

3. If you have a technical question about any of these or other digital services or apps that we provide, please use our Digital Services Support Form. You may use this for anything from questions about how to sign in to technical troubleshooting and everything in between.

Now, for the overview:




Libby holds the largest portion of the Des Moines Public Library’s eBook and eAudiobook collection, with tens of thousands of titles. When you open Libby, you’ll want to sign in with your library credentials. Find the login option in the top right corner (if you’re using the Libby app on a mobile device, you’ll be asked to select your library), and then use your library card number and PIN to sign in.

Users may check out up to ten items on Libby with their library card, and they may also have up to ten holds.

*Residency restrictions apply to use Libby - you must be either a resident of Des Moines or rural Polk County.

Browsing Libby

If you’re looking for a book to read or listen to right now, Libby makes it easy. There are several sections to look at as you scroll down the main page.

Hot titles, no holds

Hot Titles, No Holds

In this section, you’ll usually find between five and fifteen books that are ready to be checked out immediately. These books are typically some of the most popular items in the system and may have several holds on them normally. When a book is added to this section, you can grab it right away without having to put a hold on it. However, there are a couple rules: When you borrow an eBook or eAudiobook from the Hot Titles, No Holds section, you have it for just fourteen days, instead of the regular twenty one, and there are no renewals allowed.

Books Available Now

Books Available Now and Audiobooks Available Now

When you scroll through Libby’s main page, you’ll see sections titled Books Available Now and Audiobooks Available Now. These mean just what they say – they are full of items you can check out and read immediately. You can use the search filters at the top of the page to find a book in the subject or genre you’re interested in.

Always available Audiobooks

Always Available Audiobooks

Different than Audiobooks Available Now, this is a list of fifty eAudiobooks that have no holds and no wait time, specifically chosen by our collection development librarians. If you don’t feel like checking out one of these books today, you can come back in few days’ time and they will still be available for you.

Always Available Classics

If you find yourself with more time to read that normal, considering reading one of those classic novels your English professor gushed about. The Always Available Classics section features more than 300 classic eBooks, such as Moby DickLittle WomenThe Count of Monte CristoOliver Twist, and more. These eBooks have no holds and no wait times. It's the perfect opportunity to finally read those classic novels!


It can be a little overwhelming when all the books you put on hold become available at the same time. Thankfully, Libby has a special option to help you manage your holds. If a book that you put on hold becomes available, you may defer that hold for any length of time. When the book becomes available again on the date of your choosing, you'll be the first person to have a chance to borrow it. This can help you space out the time when your items are due, allowing you to read everything you want without having to rush. 

When a book becomes available to you on Libby, you have three days to borrow it; there is no auto-checkout option. If you forget to borrow it, Libby will automatically defer the hold for seven days the first time. After that, the hold will be dropped.


Libby utilizes easy-to-use search filter suggestions. There are also several collections grouped by genre, subject, and fun suggestions like “audiobooks read by a full cast.”

Kids section

Kids and Teens

Don’t forget – Libby has a great kids section and teens section. They include eGraphic Novels, read along books, and more. This large collection will definitely help keep the kids occupied!





Signing up for RBDigital is a little different than Libby. To get started, you’ll want to click on "Register" in the menu bar, where you’ll be asked to create an account using your library card and PIN. Whenever you sign into RBDigital after creating your account, you’ll need to use the email or username and the password you used at the time of registration.

Users may check out up to eight items on RBDigital with their library card, and they may also have up to eight holds.

*Residency restrictions apply to use Libby - you must be either a resident of Des Moines or rural Polk County.


RBDigital has more than 7,000 eAudiobooks, including some that are not available on Libby. This includes exclusives like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, books by Fern Michaels, Jude Deveraux’s Medlar Mysteries series, books from Robyn Carr, and more.

Though it does not have eBooks, RBDigital is home to a good portion of the library's streaming video content, including Acorn TV, The Great Courses, Stingray Qello (concert films and music documentaries), Pongalo (Spanish-language content), and more.



Romance Book Cloud

If you’re missing the paperback love stories you used to take home from the library, you’ll definitely want to check out Romance Book Cloud. There are more than 1,700 eBooks in the collection, and they are always available with no holds. These books cover a large variety of romance genres, from paranormal to science fiction, western to holiday, and more. You can’t download these books, so you’ll need an internet connection when you’re reading them. You can read these books on any computer, tablet, or mobile device.

No residency restrictions apply for using Romance Book Cloud.



Audiobook Cloud

The Audiobook Cloud is another new collection we’ve added since DMPL closed to the public. It features more than 1,200 eAudiobooks of all genres and subjects. Like the Romance Book Cloud, these books are always available with no holds or wait times. Included in the collection is more than three dozen Spanish-language eAudiobooks. Also like the Romance Book Cloud, you cannot download these books – you must be connected to the internet to listen. You can listen to these eAudiobooks on any computer, tablet, or mobile device.

No residency restrictions apply for using Audiobook Cloud.


Published on March 23, 2020
Last Modified June 21, 2021