I love to read, but I truthfully can’t remember the last time I bought a brand new book for myself. I buy used books all the time from crazy little shops, but it’s been a really long time since I’ve actually purchased something from Barnes and Noble, which is — let’s face it — the last chain bookstore left in existence.
When I’m not buying books used, I’m checking them out from the library. And when I can’t actually get myself to the library, I’m checking books out online.
It’s great to see libraries keeping up with the times by offering ebooks. I truly wonder how libraries are going to stay relevant in the coming years, and it’s neat to see them innovate by moving into the digital world.
Anyhow, I’m not someone who regularly scours the App Store for the best stuff, so maybe you know of a better platform, but I’ve really been liking the OverDrive audiobook app. It allows you to connect to your local library and download audiobooks (and ebooks) directly to your device — in my case, the iPhone 4.
Here’s my bookshelf. There’s only one book on it right now, Great Expectations, which is due in just a few hours. If I click on the title of the book, it takes me to the “player,” where I can actually hear the audio.
As you can see, there’s the playbar at the top, and just below that are a few buttons. I like the “go back 15 seconds” button on the far right for when I get distracted. The bookmark button on the far right is great for marking my place.
If I click on the little button in the far upper-right-hand corner, it takes me to a page with more detail about the audiobook. Clicking on Contents, I can see all the chapters and how long each one is.
And did I mention it’s 100 percent free?
So, here’s a little tutorial on how to download an audiobook with the OverDrive Media Console.
Step 1: Download the app.
2. Open the app, and add your library. All you have to do is click on the Get Books+ button in the upper-right-hand corner, and then click Add a Library. OverDrive will let you browse for your library, and the helpful search field even makes auto-suggestions. As you can see, I’ve connected to two library systems. (You connect to the library system as a whole, not just one particular library branch.)
3. Next, click on one of the libraries, and OverDrive will open a window where you can browse for titles.
4. Click on the Search button, and type the name of a book into the field. I’ve been wanting to read Blue Like Jazz, so that’s what I searched for.
5. Lo and behold, the first search result is exactly what I want. AND there is one copy available, which means I can download it immediately. If there were no copies available, I’d have to put myself on the waiting list, and then the library would send me an email when a copy becomes available. Even though these digital books have no physicality, there aren’t an unlimited number of “copies.” Just like the actual copies on the bookshelf at the “real” library, the digital copies on the “fake” shelf are limited.
6. Click Add to Cart, and you’re taken to … your cart! (First you have to enter your library card number and password that you created when you signed up for your library card.) When you get to your cart, you’ll see the audiobook sitting pretty there.
7. Click Proceed to Checkout (even though you’re not actually buying anything), and you’re taken to a page where you can select the lending period and confirm the checkout.
8. Once checkout is confirmed, click Download.
9. Then, the new title is added to your bookshelf, and you have to wait while it downloads. Sometimes this can take upward of an hour depending on the book.
Once the files are downloaded, click on the title, and you can start listening.
Do you listen to audiobooks on your mobile device? If so, how?