My eThings in Overdrive on Friday Night

Friday night and I’m excited! No, not by knitting!

I  mean it … I AM excited by this latest innovation in my eWorld.

I’ve really liked the idea of being able to borrow ebooks and audio books from my community library.  I admit – I tried it.  But I found it just one-step-too-many-clunky.  You know – log onto the computer – log onto the library catalogue – log onto Overdrive – download the item – transfer to my device.  No – not for me. Kindle ‘air-wave’ downloads I liked. Not this.

But then I noticed in my blogstream that Overdrive had released an App for the iPhone/iPad.

So I downloaded an App to test it – quickly searched my local library – and five minutes later was listening to my test book as I wrote this post.  Superb!

This is a fantastic option for all education settings, and your community library.

I am so glad that my community library has Overdrive!

I AM excited!

Here’s some of my screen shots from my iPhone.  Below you’ll find more information.

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From an OverDrive Press Release via No Shelf Required:

Public, school, and college libraries now provide direct eBook downloads on the iPad® with the free OverDrive® Media Console™ app. The optimized app enables users at more than 13,000 libraries worldwide to wirelessly download and enjoy eBooks and digital audiobooks from a local library on the Apple® device. Popular and best-selling titles, including “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson, “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, and “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, are a few of the Most Downloaded Books from the Library (www.overdrive.com/mostdownloaded). These digital books and more in popular genres like romance, mystery, thriller, and virtually every subject can now be borrowed from libraries and enjoyed in an optimized iPad app.

The OverDrive Media Console app for iPad is available in the App Store (http://bit.ly/OverDriveApp). To see if your library is a member of the OverDrive network, visit http://search.overdrive.com.

OverDrive’s app for iPad gives users wireless access to their library’s EPUB eBook and MP3 audiobook catalog without a PC. Users can find their library using the app’s “Get Books” feature, then browse for titles, check out with a valid library card, and download directly to the iPad. Brightness and text-size controls allow them to customize their eBook reading experience. Users can also create bookmarks and resume from the last point accessed. The eBook and audiobook titles from the library automatically expire in the app, so there is never a late fee.

The iPad app joins the previously released OverDrive apps for iPhone® and Android™, which have been downloaded by more than half a million users worldwide. In addition to iPad support, OverDrive’s app for iOS devices was updated to enable new features, including landscape and portrait orientation, support for hyperlinks, and an updated interface with a lending countdown calendar.

OverDrive provides digital distribution services for more than 13,000 libraries, retailers, and schools worldwide with support for Windows®, Mac®, iPod®, iPhone, iPad, Sony® Reader, NOOK™, Android, and BlackBerry®.

The book is dead – long live the book

So much is said and written about the ‘demise’ of the book these days. However, amongst the media hype and one-eyed negativism that sometimes abounds – there are also rational evangelists who focus on knowledge, culture and the role of digitised text in extending the possibilities for humanity.

At a recent conference hosted by the Association of Independent Schools, I encountered just such an evangelist. Sherman Young, who writes The Book is Dead blog as a companion to his book by the same title (download the first chapter), tantalized the audience with his presentation ‘The Book is Dead’.

Sherman kept the BOOK right in perspective – both past forms and future possibilities were discussed.

Book culture is too often confused with reading culture  – and it is this reading culture that Sherman explained as ‘long-form’ text. A book is a process – it requires time  to write and time to read. A book makes premium  demands of authors and readers: a writer can reflect and dig deeper into ideas, subtly constructing reality, thereby encouraging analysis, thought, reflection. In fact,  in a book the creation of a new reality is delegated to the reader.

Sherman reminded us that in fact BOOKS HAVE BEEN DIGITAL FOR ABOUT 20 YEARS!!

Eureka!  Of course books have been digital – once we got rid of hot metal presses, and moved to typesetting then desktop publishing, all books were digital first, then adapted to be printed.

Now the digital books are getting sophisticated and devices have emerged that make them easy to read. In addition, books are being digitised the world over to share, and to facilitate learning and research. Take a look at the Rare Book Room, and think about the value of this type of easy access to our literary and knowledge heritage.

In an online world we can and have to ensure that books remain – it’s about what books have done that counts. Even Google books are a way of ensuring that books survive.

Of course we also have text that is about communication in short form and speed. Text is everywhere online.

According to Sherman,

books are people thinking; online text, like Twitter, are people talking.

We need books. Even in the 21st century we need places and spaces to slow down, and books to read as ‘long text’.

I wound up the conference with my presentation. It was great to conclude an exciting day that, incidentally, kicked off with a fantastic skyed presentation from Will Richardson on transforming learning in education. Will’s a bit of a star at getting people sitting on the edge of their seats, and so people were pretty much buzzing making  it  easy for me to do a wrap that followed his vision, and also bounced off the exciting ideas that Sherman shared.

As ‘one of their own’ it was my job to try and challenge all the teacher-librarians to go on back to school and work hard at ‘keeping up with every(E)thing.  Oh, and my view is that the book is not dead – it’s just adapting!