Overdrive.com – Liberating the Public Library

Overdrive Logo

In my house, we’ve started being very diligent about ready to the kids every night before bedtime. One night I sit at Anna’s bedside and she gets to see the pictures while Matias listens and the next night we switch. After a few weeks of this, we ran out of books. Rather than buy more used kids books on Amazon.com which I’ve done in the past, I decided it was time to introduce the kids to an unlimited selection of books of all subjects, the public library.

After work one day, I picked up the kids as usual.  Knowing that my wife was running late leaving work, I figured the kids and I had enough time to stop in to the library before dinner. Although standing in line quietly is not their forte’, I managed to leave the front desk with a library card, which we promptly took to the children section and grabbed six books that would sustain us for a week or so. Getting a library card was easy, didn’t cost me anything, and now we have a new adventure we can go on together.

Later that evening I got around to reading the information packet the library provided about the various summer programs and services they offer, and I ran across a section about Overdrive.com, their online lending platform. With overdrive you could borrow eBooks and audio books, my preferred format, all from the comfort of your own home. Nice!

How do I?

After downloading the Overdrive app on my Android, I searched and found my local library which I added to my account. After the account was setup, I was able to search, filter, and borrow books up to my limit of fifteen, which the library had set. Since my brain isn’t complex enough to listen to more than one audio book in parallel, I keep my borrowing down to one or two audio books at a time.

Once you find the book you want to borrow, the process is pretty straight forward, enter your library card number, and click ‘Borrow’. If the book is unavailable you will be presented with a ‘Place Hold’ button which, just like a traditional library, put your name on the list to receive the book once it is returned. Since all audio books are automatically checked back in at their due date, the longest you should have to wait is 21 days, if you are first in the hold queue. Twenty-one days is my library’s max checkout time for digital media, your’s may vary.

One thing to watch for is when placing a hold, you are provided with an option to ‘Check out immediately once available’ which is nice, unless you already have a few checked out, then you’re just wasting time with it in your account, which could be used by someone else actually ready for the book.  This is more of a ‘be kind to other readers’ tip, rather than ‘do not do this it is evil’ type tip.

Added Bonus

I really like the fact that I can cancel my $14.95 a month Audible.com membership and get the same similar benefits for free from my local library.  Edit: I actually downgraded to the $9.95 a year plan rather than a full cancellation ,which allows me to share books with other Audible.com members.  This plan is not present on their membership page, but was presented during cancellation.  This plan allows for continued discounts on purchases as well as for continued borrowing of books among members, which is nice for books the library doesn’t have.

If you aren’t a member of your local library, by all means, get down there and say hi.  While you’re there, ask if they have Overdrive for online lending, your commute will thank you.