An easier way to borrow e-books
By Jo-Ann Greene, Books Editor email@example.com
It just got easier to borrow a free e-book from any Lancaster County library.
"It's one-click reading. This is what we've been praying for," said Stephanie Zimmerman, training and development coordinator for the Library System of Lancaster County.
In a press release last week, the system reported "new and improved" download capabilities on the OverDrive Next Generation website: lancasterlibraries.lib.overdrive.com.
Plus, the website has been redesigned to deliver a "Netflix-like experience," said Zimmerman when reached by phone. Colorful book covers are displayed with tabs clearly indicating whether the format is e-book or audiobook.
Readers will be able to find books faster with filtered search capability; Next Generation also recommends titles to readers.
After logging onto the site with a library card, library patrons using One-Step Checkout can check out a title with one click.
But "the best thing ever is the ability to read on demand," Zimmerman said.
The new OverDrive Read feature enables instant access to many books -- online or offline -- with no software or downloading required. That is: If a desired title is available for borrowing, readers can start reading immediately in their Web browsers.
Reading progress is synchronized across devices, including computer, phone, tablet, e-readers. Stop reading on a certain page on a phone, bookmark the page, and resume reading on the same page on a tablet. Everything looks the same, whether displayed on a desktop or a mobile device.
Of the 1,500 e-books in the collection, more than 1,000 are compatible with the new technology, Zimmerman said.
One caveat: The reader's device must have a modern Web browser (with html 5 capability) built into it to take advantage of the One-Step Checkout and OverDrive Read upgrades, Zimmerman noted. If it doesn't, books may still be downloaded as usual on the website, she said.
OverDrive, a Cleveland-based digital distributor of e-books, audiobooks, music and video to 19,000 libraries, schools and retailers worldwide, is promising another upgrade next year to make the e-borrowing process even more convenient, Zimmerman said.
After working with the system for the past three years, Zimmerman said she's come to "think of it as television was in my grandparents' day," before rotating antennas and bulky TV sets gave way to cable and flat screens.n