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What is Onleihe? 

The Onleihe is Goethe-Institut’s digital library (eLibrary). More than 23,000 German language eBooks, audio books, movies, materials for German language learners, magazines and newspapers are available for downloading from the Onleihe. 

Anywhere, anytime, free of charge

After registration and activation, you can use the Onleihe media on your PC, laptop and mobile devices (Android and iOS), anytime and anywhere. 

Who can use the Onleihe?

Anyone with permanent residence outside Germany can use our eLibrary. Online registration is fast and easy. Library membership is not required. 
Currently, there are around 25,000 media available at our eLibrary. We offer this service only at the Goethe-Instituts abroad. To use the Onleihe in German speaking countries, please contact a public library near you. Have a look at the titles you will find in the eLibrary of the Goethe-Institut.

How do I register?

Depending on your device, you have various options for accessing and downloading media:

The eLibrary is the virtual library of the Goethe-Institut. This free service allows you to borrow digital media, such as ebooks, audio and video files, and electronic newspapers and magazines, for a predetermined period of time, by downloading them from our eLibrary.

Returning media isn’t necessary – at the end of the loan period, media automatically becomes unavailable.

With our eLibrary, borrowing media is at your fingertips 24/7.
Anyone who has a primary residence in the USA may use the services of our eLibrary.

Our eLibrary is only available to users outside of Germany and nearby German-speaking areas. For use in these areas, please contact a public library near you.

Please note: the eLibrary is licensed for individual use only & cannot be opened up for use by school classes or universities.
Registration for our eLibrary is simple:
  1. Login to your My Goethe.de account. Should you not yet have a My Goethe.de account, register for one now. Registration for My Goethe.de and use of the eLibrary are both free.
  2. In your My Goethe.de account, go to the "My eLibrary" navigation point and click on the blue "Log In" button. Now you're authorized to use our eLibrary!
Prior to registering for the eLibrary, please check that your device meets the minimum technical requirements for use (What works on which devices?). We highly recommend a broadband Internet connection (DSL, cable) for streaming video, music and audiobooks. Please make sure that your eBook reader is compatible.

The following formats are currently used in the eLibrary:
  • for eBooks: PDF-format and/or ePub-format
  • for eAudio: Streaming
  • for eVideo: Streaming
  • for ePaper: PDF-format
  • for eMagazine: PDF-format
As a technical prerequisite for using the eLibrary, your operating system must be capable of installing the following software for diverse media types:
  • Adobe Digital Editions and Adobe Reader for eBooks
  • Onleihe app for use with smartphones and tablets
In order to open files in ePub and PDF format on a tablet or mobile device, you can use the free Onleihe app and sign in with your free Adobe ID.

Streaming media can be viewed in a browser or within the Onleihe app while it is connected to the internet.  

The eLibrary is not a stand-alone piece of software, rather it requires the intertwining of many, diverse systems. Many of these are outside the scope of the eLibrary. Please understand that due to technical reasons, our offerings may not be compatible with every system and device available on the market.

Disclaimer: the use of eLibrary media on some Apple and Linux powered devices is limited. The use of eLibrary media is not possible on Kindles. Why? Because Apple and Kindles have their own digital rights management (DRM), which are not compatible with the eLibrary's DRM.
Filme in der Onleihe

Streaming Films in our eLibrary

Over 100 German films – classic movies as well as current productions – are available for free on our eMedia platform, the eLibrary. The online movie collection of the Goethe-Institut is all about German films. You’ll find unforgettable cinema classics based on the books by Erich Kästner, such as Das doppelte Lottchen or Emil und die Detektive, and can now watch them from the comfort of your own home. Apart from these classics, our film selection also includes current productions – from feature films and documentaries all the way to children’s films and comedies.


Click here to browse & borrow the offerings in the eLibrary.

More information

Using the eLibrary for the first time? Get an error message? Not sure what works on which devices? Find the answers to these questions and more in the eLibrary Help.