While I like ebooks, I don’t like them enough to buy a whole bunch of them. If I am going to buy a book, I still tend to buy paper. That’s not to say that I don’t want to read the latest things. For those books that I want to read just to keep up with what’s current, but probably won’t read again, I have found that I am using my library’s electronic book lending.
It’s been a while since I posted part one of this process. You can find a post here where I walk through some instructions to check out and download an electronic book from my local library for reading on my nook. I have since made more use of reading library eBooks on my iPad than I ever do on my nook. This is due largely to the ease of checkout, download, and read via a little app called Overdrive.
Overdrive Meda Console is available on a variety of platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, Blackberry, iPhone and iPad and apparently, even Windows 7.
I only use OMC on my iPad, so I can’t vouch for how well it works on the iPhone or what your reading experience will be there. I would imagine that it would just be smaller. All other functions really should be the same.
After installing OMC, checking out a library book could not be more simple. This is all provided you have your informatino from your library needed for online checkout of electronic books and that you have no fees from late returns open on your account. As long as you currently have what you need to check books out of your local library, you should be just fine.
Launch the app and it opens to a plain white and blue listing of books you currently have checked out. When it’s your first time, you probably don’t have any books there. Tap on the “get books +” button in the upper right hand corner.
This will flip the page over to another white and black listing of libraries. Again, if this is your first time you will have to add your library. Tap on the “Add a library +” to do so. To find your library, just put in its name, or address or postal code. A list of libraries should come up for you to click on the one that is yours.
Once you’ve clicked on your library, Safari will come up and allow you to log into the library using whatever library credentials you need there. This is usually a library card number and a pin. Again, if you could log into your library account via the web before, you do it the same way here.
Once you have signed in, you might have to double tap the home button to go back to Overdrive. I have a feeling that it jumps back after login but I this is the one part of the process I don’t remember.
Now that you’ve put in your login credentials, Overdrive will remember your account information as well as that library on that white and blue page from here on after, so you don’t have to go dig your library card out in the middle of the night when you want to check out a book. To me, this is probably the feature I like the most in this whole setup.
To check out a book, browse around on your library’s eBook checkout page until you find something you like. My library has a digital cart system, and once you check out your cart, you have checked out the book. What Overdrive does, now, is brings the book you’ve checked out in your cart over to that first white and blue page and will ask if you want to download it. Do so and now you can read from within the Overdrive app.
As an ebook reader, Overdrive is just fine. I like it better than the nook app interface on the iPad but not nearly as much as I like the iBooks interface. The nice part of the interface is it shows you a tiny calendar and the number of days you have left to read your book. Once your lending period has expired, you will no longer be able to open the book and Overdrive will tell you so.
When you are done reading, you can delete the book from the Overdrive bookshelf. A nice touch here is that if you haven’t finished and your lending period has expired, if you recheck out the book, Overdrive will remember your place and you can continue to read where you left off.
I love how easy this is. It makes the process to put a book on my first generation nook seem to arcane and is such a hassle that I almost never do it. For electronic reading, I still prefer the black and white eink of the nook, but for ease in checking out electronic library books, this Overdrive app on the iPad is so simple I only use it.
I’d be interested to hear if any of you have used this app and what your experiences are.