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OverDrive Read: A New Format Eases the E-book Check-Out Process

by on March 25, 2013


OverDrive Read eliminates the need to download apps or install software in order to read library e-books on smartphones, tablets, PCs, Macs, or any device with a modern web browser. Once they’ve checked out an e-book via OverDrive Read, users can access that book offline (by saving the book’s URL to their browser’s bookmarks). Also, OverDrive Read syncs between devices, so users can start reading on their PC, switch to their iPad, and pick up where they left off. To do so, simply log in to your account on your library’s website, locate the checked-out title, and click “Read.”

OverDrive Read was created to make the library e-book experience simpler for library patrons. “See Book—Read Book” is the slogan for the new technology, and accessing e-books from the library really is that simple. “Returning users appreciate the powerful new features like full-text search and the ability to sync between devices, while new users appreciate the technology’s ease of use and broad device compatibility. Librarians are spending less time answering support questions,” says Michael Lovett, Public Relations and Social Media Specialist at OverDrive.

An Australian company that was acquired by OverDrive last year first came up with the software. Since then both companies have been working together to get OverDrive Read created and usable.

My library system, Loudoun County (VA) Public Library (LCPL) rolled out the new format on February 22nd. Julie Bauer, LCPL’s Collection Development Librarian says, “I think it is much easier and faster. The checkout and downloading process has been streamlined, and the Read format is just one click.” I have helped a few patrons with the new check-out process and it does go faster. Patrons seem to pick up the process quicker than in the past. And that’s particularly beneficial when patrons are at home and need to remember the process on their own. Fewer steps lead to better memory and therefore more patron usage of the e-book service.

This product comes at a good time. One reason is that a recent study by Scholastic reveals the percent of children who have read an e-book has almost doubled since 2010 (25% vs. 46%). And according to ALA, nationwide, 76% of public libraries report offering free access to e-books to library patrons, which is up over 20% since 2009.

For a visual demo of these latest features from Overdrive, take a look at this video.