If you have a smartphone/tablet and haven’t downloaded the Overdrive Media Console, you need to. I hadn’t until last night because I’ve been researching ways for our campus to incorporate ebooks with what we already have. Yesterday, though, I decided to try out the public library’s catalog for MP3 audio books. I was wondering how the library could deliver an MP3 to a user’s device and still respect copyrights.
The Overdrive Media Console reminds me a lot of the TED Air app that streams TED Talks near seamlessly. (It’s a beautiful app and the content is always intriguing if you needed my recommendation.) Overdrive downloads a buffer file that is then played through the app. The big plus to using the app versus downloading a straight MP3 file is that you can add bookmarks to the audio file. This was a huge feature for me. The app creates a data file that says how many minutes and seconds the player was into the MP3 file. When you click on that bookmark, you can skip straight to where you were.
Another great perk is that you can set the player to rewind a few seconds automatically the next time you open the app so that you get a quick review of the last sentence or two. That saves some of the jarring “where was I?” that I’ve experienced with straight MP3s.
The app works well for ebooks, too, in much the same manner as the Kindle or nook apps do.
The biggest perk is that all of this content was free. I only needed a library card. I found my library in the app, typed in my login information, and then had access to the catalog. The only drawback was that the catalog ran in the browser instead of the app, so the interface was a little clunkier and took longer to load, but I guess that’s a trade-off. I would rather have that than have to wait while thousands of books were re-registered/catalogued each time I opened the app.