Riverside County Library System - Zip Books Information Sheet
If you can't find a book in at your local library or elsewhere in the Riverside County Library catalog, consider using our FREE Zip Books program to have it ordered and sent to you.
Zip Books allows you to request a book and have it mailed directly to your address through Amazon. Once purchased and delivered, it will be recorded as checked out to you by the library. When you’re done, you’ll bring it back for library staff to check in as a brand new library book.
Below are answers to essential questions about the Zip program, which is funded by the California State Library and administered by Northnet Library System.
What can I request?
Most books are eligible for Zip requests. The book must meet the criteria below.
A Zip Book in print form must be
- an item not already owned by your local/home branch (the branch at which you’re submitting the request)
- in stock on Amazon Prime,
- cost $50.00 or less before taxes ($75 or less if in a language other than English)
- published at least six months ago,
- not out of print, and
- not a “bestseller” (if in doubt, check the New York Times Bestseller list) unless you are ordering a Large Print or audiobook edition, in which case bestsellers are permitted.
Audiobooks on CD are eligible if they are
- An item not already available within the Riverside County Library System Catalog
- in stock on Amazon Prime,
- cost $75.00 or less,
- published at least six months ago, and
- not out of print.
DVDS, music CDs, digital audiobooks (e.g. mp3 or iTunes), and ebooks (including Kindle books) are not eligible to be requested through the Zip Books program.
We expect to fulfill the vast majority of Zip requests, but success is not guaranteed. Approval will depend on available funds, the availability of the item on Amazon, and our evaluation of the title as being suitable for addition to the library collections.
Please check the Amazon.com site beforehand to make sure the item is available. We will contact you if we are unable to fulfill the request or if it does not meet the criteria.
How does Zip Books work?
You can only request one Zip Book item at a time. You’ll need to return your Zip Book item before you request another one. You may request up to 5 Zip Books per month.
To avoid loss or theft, we encourage you to enter a delivery address where someone will be present to accept the package during the working day. This could be a home or business address, or a P.O. box.
If you don't receive your Zip Book order within two weeks, please contact your local library branch or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If it arrives damaged, contact your local branch ASAP to avoid being charged.
Your due date will be two weeks from the date of delivery. You can renew Zip Book items through your library account online or through the local branch, just like ordinary library items.
How do I return my Zip Book?
When you have finished with a Zip Book item, DO NOT place it in a book drop! Because it comes directly from Amazon.com, the item will not yet be bar-coded for the Riverside County Library System. If it goes into the book drop, we will not be able to track it the usual way, and you may be charged for a lost item.
You must return the book in person directly to a library employee at your local branch and tell them “This is a Zip Book.”
Is there a fee to order a Zip Book?
If you return your Zip Book item on time you will pay absolutely nothing. If it is late or lost, the same fines and rules will apply as with other library items.
Who can request a Zip Book item?
To participate, you must be a current Riverside County Library System card holder in good standing, with less than $5.00 in outstanding charges.
If you don't have a current RCLS library card, visit your local branch with a photo ID and a piece of mail addressed to your home (or other proof of your California residence). Once you register for a card, you'll be able to make a Zip Books request that same day.
What if my requested title does not fit the Zip Books criteria?
If the item is located within the Riverside County Library System Catalog, but not at your local branch, you may want to consider placing a hold on the item and have it sent to your local branch for your convenience. If the item is not found within RCLS, you might want to consider placing an interlibrary loan (ILL) request. Please note that the interlibrary loan search fee is $5.00 per requested item, due at the time you submit ILL request at your local library. Talk to your local library staff for more information. If you'd like to request a book that is not yet published, please submit your suggestion using our Contact Us form..
Sounds great! How do I get started on Zip Books?
To make a request, fill out the downloadable form (Click here to download form) and give it to a library staff member, or fill out the online form below. Make sure to fill out the form completely, including your email address. If you need help identifying the ISBN for an item, ask library staff for assistance.
Please join us in thanking the California State Library for their generous support of the Zip Books program and the Riverside County Library System!