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Library audiobooks to go DRM-free on Overdrive
January 24, 2014 | 12:19 pm

The mp3 audiobook market has been DRM-free for years, and at least part of the audiobook market is going to follow suit. OverDrive, the leading ebook and audiobook supplier for libraries and institutions, has announced that they're phasing out the WMA format audiobooks in favor of DRM-free mp3. Aside from minor vendors like Playaway, OverDrive effectively is the the library audiobook market so today's news is a big deal. Audiobooks in general, and Amazon/Audible in particular, are the last holdouts for DRM in audio. The mp3 music market is DRM-free, and there are even a couple audiobook retailers that have gone...

OverDrive’s impressive 2013 shows readers finding new outlets for e-books
January 17, 2014 | 12:33 pm

OverdriveData suggests that e-book sales are flat and slowing down. However, ask those working at publishing companies and they will politely tell you the pace hasn’t slowed down at all. At the Digital Book World Conference, several publishers including Sourcebook’s Dominique Raccha and Simon & Schuster’s Carolyn Reidy both agreed the rate of change is not slowing down even with the information that e-book sales have slowed. A big part of that may have to do with information released this week from OverDrive, a distributor of e-books, digital audiobooks, music and video to libraries. Consider this: it took 10 years for OverDrive to reach...

Good News: Penguin Has Relaxed Restrictions on Kindle Library Books
September 27, 2013 | 11:07 am

Overdrive You may have read that Penguin books are again available for purchase in Overdrive, which means library patrons will soon see popular Penguin books in their libraries. Hooray! Well, there's more good news. In the Overdrive announcement on Wednesday, they said that while new books would be available, Kindle owners would still need to use USB to load them (although savvy borrowers knew of the work-around for that problem). Yesterday, Overdrive announced that Penguin books are now available as "Get for Kindle" just like books from other publishers. No more USB. No more work-arounds. One final bit of good Overdrive news. You...

OverDrive to offer e-books in China; Hires new executive for video growth
September 17, 2013 | 10:30 am

[caption id="attachment_96822" align="alignleft" width="368"] OverDrive CEO Steve Potash (left).[/caption] Overdrive made some announcements over the last week. The first came on Friday where the e-book lending company announced it is taking steps to offer its digital content in China. The company stated it will be working with libraries, school and retailers to establish digital lending platforms in China. OverDrive CEO Steve Potash signed a an agreement with the China National Publications Import & Export Corporation (CNPIEC) while at the Beijing International Book Fair. In addition, Overdrive hired a former YouTube executive to lead video partnerships. Lee C. Milstein, who worked at Google, AOL and DivX,...

OverDrive updates Media Console app
August 23, 2013 | 3:02 pm

OverDrive released an update to its Media Console app for iOS and Android this week. Version 3.0 offers a new interface with easier downloading of e-books through your local library; it also syncs over different devices. OverDrive works with libraries to offer lending of e-books and audiobooks. I tried out the new version and found the upgrade to be well worth it. To start, there is audio to explain the new features and also screen prompts. It takes you through the update seamlessly. The best part is how easy it is to sign in and download a book. It seemingly took extra steps for me...

OverDrive announces second book of Big Library Read program after successful first promotion
August 22, 2013 | 11:17 am

OverDrive announced the second book of its Big Library Read program recently. This time, the e-book lending company is going with a children’s book—Jane O’Connor’s "Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth"—which is published through HarperCollins. The book will be available through the OverDrive app with participating libraries from Sept. 16-30. There will be no holds during that period, which means thousands of people can simultaneously read the book without waiting. OverDrive debuted the program in May with "The Four Corners of the Sky" by Michael Malone, through Sourcebooks. The program's first attempt was a success from nearly every standpoint—according to David Burleigh, OverDrive’s...

Overdrive Media Console (App Review)
March 16, 2013 | 1:20 pm

Overdrive At the end of January, I wrote an article on the Overdrive overhaul, and how users weren't completely happy with the new interface. To follow up on that, I decided to try the Overdrive Media Console app and see how it fares as an e-reading app. My verdict? I want to like it. I really do. But I can't quite warm up to it. Why do I want to like it so much? Because it's an easy way to get library books on my Nexus 7. The more I use the Android Kindle app, the less I like it, so EPUB is a...

New OverDrive Site Not Meeting User Expectations?
January 30, 2013 | 2:49 pm

Late last year, OverDrive began rolling out a new look to their site. My own library in Fairfax County had a "New Look Coming" banner up for several weeks. When I tried it out for the first time, my reaction was, "Not great, but I can live with it." I wasn't crazy about the new thumbnail view of the catalog. Maybe it's just me, but I find it easiest to process information in lists, not in blocks of images. I also missed the feature that told me exactly where I was in the hold line. The old site would tell me,...

OverDrive Announces Streaming Video and Audio Services
January 26, 2013 | 12:15 pm

  Earlier this week, OverDrive announced that it will enhance its industry-leading library service platform with streaming video and audio technology. The new services will improve ease of use and device compatibility for OverDrive-hosted video, audiobook and music collections at libraries and schools around the world. OverDrive will demonstrate its streaming technology this weekend (Jan. 25- 28) at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting at Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center, Booth 1115. Scheduled for launch later this year, OverDrive’s streaming services are secure and will extend the reach of libraries’ digital collections thanks to virtually unlimited device compatibility. Users will enjoy quick...

Kindle Fire-usable version of OverDrive is now available in Amazon’s app store
October 16, 2012 | 12:27 pm

A Kindle Fire-usable version of the OverDrive e-library app has now reached the Amazon app store. That could give the app’s Android version a nice boost—the Fire is essentially an Android machine turned into an Amazon cash register. Fire owners earlier had to go to the OverDrive site to download the app unofficially. But for me personally, the big news is optional all-text bolding in the OverDrive app for iPads, iPhones and Touches. So many library fans have their own wish lists of accessibility features, and full bolding led mine, since I cherish an extra-high-contrast view for reading e-books, even on LCD displays. Earlier in 2012 OverDrive obliged with optional...

Morning Roundup — Links to start your day
September 25, 2012 | 9:18 am

StoryBundle Second Bundle Available (The Digital Reader) Overdrive Releases New Statistics on Book Lending (Good E-Reader) Newsprint Joins the Internet of Things (Paid Content) Kindle Daily Deal: (2) Richard Castle mystery novels (and) Zombie-Kids...

In Texas, even the e-books are big
August 1, 2012 | 1:39 am

Regardless of how the writers at Gawker may feel about the Sunday Styles section, I've always been a big fan of trend stories. And as a long-time freelance journalist, I've learned to keep a eye out for articles in small-town newspapers, for instance, that might be hinting at a trend-in-progress, but without even necessarily intending to. Case in point: This story from last week's Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, which discusses the surprisingly rapid growth of the circulation of e-books at the small Texas town's public library. In the span of just three years, according to the story, the library's e-book circulation has risen approximately 200 percent, "from 15,000 to...