The day before my week-long vacation on Lake Powell, I had a decision to make: bring a real book on the boat, bring my broken (not holding a charge) NOOK or experiment with borrowing an eBook from the library and reading it on on my cheap android tablet.
I decided to go with borrowing an eBook.
I have been borrowing books from the library for months, but I would finish one after hours, and then I would be bored until I was able to go back to the library and return the finished book and pick out a new one. Several times I’ve searched for books I wanted, but found that the titles weren’t at my neighborhood library, but were available in eBook format. I didn’t know much about borrowing eBooks, so I wasn’t eager to give it a try. Finally, I figured it was time to test it out.
The first step in borrowing eBooks from my library was downloading the Overdrive app to my tablet. From there, I created an account and added my County Library. Next, I entered my library card number to sign in. But where to start? There are Librarian Recommendations and collections of new eBooks, but how should I sort through sea of endless books? I went back to my NOOK and browsed through the samples of eBooks I wanted to read, but felt were too overpriced to purchase.
I typed in the title of my first choice and got a notification that it was available to put “On Hold.” I paused. That meant the book was unavailable and I couldn’t check it out at the moment. It was not what I had hoped for. Finally, after four attempts, I finally found a book I wanted to read that had no holds on it. Success! Now I had another decision to make: download the book or read it online. Since I was heading out onto the lake, my best bet was to download the book because I might not have any service available.
Unlike a physical book, the eBook in Overdrive reminds you when it’s due. I mean, constantly. Every time I opened the book, the cover page would display how many days remaining until it expired. On the final day, it even displays the number of hours left: 22 hours remaining, 15 hours, and then, expired. I can renew eBooks within the last three days of borrowing through my library’s Bookshelf page.
What I didn’t realize until I checked out my fourth book was that I had some control over the check out period. I had borrowed each eBook for a defaulted, short, two-week period. I recently changed my settings to the traditional three-week period. However, there is a note that “Some publishers reserve the right to set a lending period. If a lending period differs from your preference, this will be shown at the Bookshelf page.”
Once I started my new job, I found I had less time for reading and needed to renew my book a second time. Unfortunately, someone else had already put a hold on that eBook and I couldn’t check it out again. Instead, I had the option to add myself to the holds list. Whenever that book becomes available again and it is my turn in the queue, then I can check out that book once more. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t renewed a third time. Since I wasn’t really into that book and it was taking me so long to finish it, I figured it was OK to let someone else indulge, while I borrow a book that I would actually enjoy.
I’ve read several books so far in the Overdrive app and I find it quite agreeable. A few things I don’t like are: the limited check-out time (which I discovered could be changed) and the dictionary. The Overdrive app’s dictionary is not available offline. I love the built-in dictionary on the NOOK. Even if I’m without service, I can still look up words. I find myself using this feature a lot when reading British books because I don’t always understand the slang.
Overdrive is the next best thing to visiting the library. It’s free and has a wide collection and unlike the local library, it’s open after hours. One more thing to mention is Overdrive’s selection of audiobooks. I haven’t tried that feature yet, but I plan on listening to some soon. Happy reading!
Cost: $0.00 on Google Play
Drink of Choice: Hazelnut latte with soy milk