Tag Archives: Overdrive

Four Times OverDrive Saved the Day

One

Star Wars Heir to the JediI was waiting in line to see Carrie Fisher’s panel at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2015 (remember how I’m a big Star Wars geek?). I did not have a book with me, because I didn’t want the extra weight in my backpack, which I knew I would slowly fill with merchandise over the course of the day. Longingly I thought of the book sitting in my hotel room.

Then I remembered I had also put an eBook copy of that book–Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi–on hold through OverDrive. And it had come in, and been automatically checked out.

I whipped out my phone, opened the OverDrive app, and downloaded the book. In about ten seconds, it loaded, and all I had to do was find my place and start reading.

(Unfortunately, Heir to the Jedi was a disappointment. It’s written in first person from Luke Skywalker’s perspective, and mostly he runs from planet to planet and almost gets eaten by monsters. It was also horribly predictable. I don’t mind a bit of predictability in books like this, but I’d like to at least pretend I don’t know what’s going to happen. With Heir to the Jedi, that was impossible.)

Two

Fifty Shades of GreyDuring the height of the Fifty Shades of Grey mania, my husband and I were eating breakfast for dinner at a diner. He told me about his coworker’s obsession with the book, and how she said it had changed her life and opened her eyes.

Giggling, I pulled out my phone and found an eBook copy on OverDrive. When it finished downloading (again, in about ten seconds), I read out loud in my best fake serious narrator voice.

For the next few days we read segments out loud to each other, making toilet sounds every time the main character “flushes” (which is about every other sentence).

All right, all right, that last example wasn’t exactly a “pinch.” But thanks for the fun, OverDrive!

(It’s not the kink that I find funny, but the repetitive writing style. I recommend Leigh Anne’s post “Fifty Shades Better” for well-written kinky romance recommendations.)

Three

The Non NonprofitAn actual pinch came after the time I found this awesome book in the Nonprofit Resource Center called The Non Nonprofit. It is full of fantastically challenging exercises that get you to think about your nonprofit’s mission, goals, and strategies. I was working through them when the book’s due date reared up, and of course someone had a hold on it.

But not to worry! The ebook copy was available, and before I even returned the print book I had the ebook on my tablet, ready to guide me through the world of effective nonprofit leadership.

Four

On Becoming an ArtistThat same thing happened to me with On Becoming an Artist, which I didn’t start reading until it was overdue, because I forgot to return it and wasn’t about to make an extra trip to the Library just to avoid a thirty-cent fine.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you view it), I fell in love with the book and the author before I had finished the first chapter. Once again, OverDrive came to the rescue–there was a long line of holds on the print copy, but the ebook copy was there, waiting for me to download it.

I’m not a die-hard ebook fan, but I do love having another option for finding a book, especially when it means I don’t have to wait. The next time the book you want RIGHT NOW isn’t available, check OverDrive (and/or our eBook collection through Ebsco), because it just might be sitting there, waiting for you to love it.

–Kelly

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Help OverDrive Help You!

Ah, the ebook – it can be your greatest friend or your worst enemy. One day you’re reading along merrily, the next you’re staring sadly at an unintelligible error message that just might possibly mean something in Sumerian. But you don’t speak Sumerian – so where do you turn when your ebooks turn on you?

truck

A shipment of new eBooks waiting to be checked in by our staff.

I always like to start with the OverDrive help pages, for three reasons: one, they’re detailed and always up to date; two, they’re super searchable; and three, I like to think that the people who make a product are the most likely to know how to fix it (this theory works equally well with ebooks, dryers, and nuclear weapons).

Anyway, to reach the OverDrive help pages all you have to do is click on the happy little question mark – it’s at the top of every page on our OverDrive site.

OverDrive banner

CLICK CLICK CLICK

That will take you to this general help page. There’s a lot of useful stuff there, including the “Recommend to Library” page – great if we’re missing a title from your favorite series – and a link to our email help form, down there at the bottom.

But if you’re like me (or it’s two in the morning and no one’s home at the library), you’ll want answers NOW. And if you want answers NOW, you should click on the first link, the one for “OverDrive Help.” Trust me here; I’ve been working with OverDrive since 2006. They gave me a frisbee once.

Help page

So many buttons, so little time.

And now you’re into the super searchable OverDrive database of awesomeness. The bar across the top has many fine drop down menus that link you to articles and videos about all of the formats that OverDrive offers (note: we don’t have all of them; we have ebooks, audiobooks, and video).

But if you still want answers NOW, just drop a couple of keywords into that old search box. Let’s pretend that I checked out a James Patterson book by mistake (I do not like James Patterson, but here I am promoting him anyway), and I want to return it early, instead of waiting three weeks for it to expire. So I’ll type “return” into the search box.

OverDrive help

You can even keep refreshing the page until you get a background picture that you like.

Just hit enter, and BOOM. Look at at that, the very first result is exactly what I need to get rid of that James Patterson book. Perfect!

Your time is up, Patterson.

Your time is up, Patterson.

That link will take you to an article that explains how to return OverDrive titles in lotsa different formats (EPUB, Kindle, MP3), and from lotsa different devices (Android phones, iPads, Kindles, nooks). So you’re pretty much covered, no matter what you’re doing.

You can even copy and paste your esoteric Sumerian error message into that handy search box, and OverDrive will explain it to you. Nice.

So remember, even if you don’t know what the heck is happening with your ebook, OverDrive probably does. Just give them a chance!

– Amy

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Who Needs Reality Shows When You Have eCLP?

So there we were, enjoying a glorious vacation week at my aunt and uncle’s beach house, and my 12 year old twins were watching the latest episode of America’s Singing Horribly with People Who Don’t Have Any Talent.

(True parenting confession time: my kids are really into reality shows. If you know me and my husband, there’s no rational explanation for how this happened.)

Less than five minutes of this cacophony and I’d had more than enough. Unfortunately, my options were somewhat limited.

Now, my aunt and uncle have a nice beach house — but it’s a tad on the smaller side. Whatever goes on in the living room of the beach house is heard everywhere throughout the beach house. Reading was impossible because I couldn’t concentrate. Going outside for a walk was out of the question: It was thunderstorming. And I am among that pitiful percentage of the population who lacks an iPod or iPad or iAnything that would allow me to listen to music iAnytime.

But what I do own is a Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh library card.

And a smartphone.*

And the OverDrive app conveniently located on that smartphone.

And a pair of headphones.

As the banal banter from the TV continued incessantly, I snuck into the bedroom, fluffed up the pillows on the bed and pressed that OverDrive app button on my phone. Clicked Get Books. Clicked Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Signed in. There, as if by magic (but because I’d told my phone I wanted it to remember it) was my library card number, right there from the last time I used it. I clicked on the nebulous person icon (who I could relate to pretty well at the moment) and brought up my Wish List.

Overdrive - My Account Overdrive - Wish List Available Now

My friends. These are the times that OverDrive Wish Lists are made for, and you’d better believe I was ever so grateful for having created it. This was no time for browsing as a bubble-headed bleached blonde was on the TV yammering about how the only way this incredible talent was going to get his Number One Wish and advance to the finals was if you, America, gotoyourphonesandmakeatollfreecallortweetusingthishashtag….

I was more interested in using my phone to download one of my Wish Listed audio books, and — holy cow! — I had plenty to choose from. As it turned out, of the numerous eBooks and audio books on my wish List, 131 of them were available right at that moment! Right there in the beach house! One hundred and thirty-one books!

(What can I say? I have a pretty extensive Wish List.)

I scrolled through the offerings. I was being pickier than I should have been, given my quasi-desperate circumstances and plethora of e-choices from the Library. I selected Jess Walter‘s short story collection We Live In Water (an appropriate if not ironic title, since we’d just spent the day by the ocean) and by the time I finished the heart-crushing first story “Anything Helps” (so incredibly good!) my kids were finished with their show and ready for bed.

Everybody in this family wins. Everybody gets a trophy. Especially when one can be 500 miles away from Pittsburgh on a barrier island located in a town too small to be listed on most maps and still be able to access the Library’s collection of books within seconds via one’s phone.

Now that’s my kind of reality show.

* Yes, I know I could very well listen to music on my phone (via the Library, too!) but that’s an Eleventh Stack post for another day. 

~Melissa F.

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eBooks roasting on an open fire….

Having trouble choosing the right eBook format? Click on the teeny pictures for a step-by-step guide to checking out an OverDrive ePub eBook. And remember, if you do happen to get snowed in this winter – burn* your paperbacks first. If you burn your eReader, your house will smell like charred plastic for weeks.

– Amy

* No, not really. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh does not condone book burning. Especially not library book burning.


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Revenge of the Digital Bookmobile

Well, I don’t necessarily think that it’s out for revenge, but OverDrive’s Digital Bookmobile will be visiting Pittsburgh once more this week. We’ll have two full days of bookmobile goodness, where you can stop by and learn about the library’s downloadable ebooks, audio books, and videos (you can also enjoy their refreshing air conditioning).

Friday, August 5th – Market Square, 10 AM – 3 PM

Saturday, August 6th – Pittsburgh Public Market, 10 AM – 4 PM

Digital Bookmobile

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's free downloadable content!

Super-friendly OverDrive staff will be on hand to tell you just how to get that book onto your nook. And when I say super-friendly, boy do I mean it. Those OverDrive people make us look like grumpy jerks, and that takes some doing. Heck, even their truck driver is a cool guy. I love OverDrive, and they’re not paying me to say that, either (though they once bribed me with an orange frisbee).

So stop by on Friday or Saturday, and see what we have to offer!

– Amy, not a grumpy jerk, but a rather pleasant librarian

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ebook help as bad short poetry

We library types are often asked to help customers solve their ebook problems. But after a while, we find ourselves saying the same things over and over again. So why not deliver the message in a new medium?

do not install
Adobe Digital Editions onto your nook
that way madness lies.

inexplicable error message
not so inexplicable
if you Google it.

while an ereader is a portable device,
it is not a “portable device.”
yeah, i know.

it’s not yet a paperless society, despite what they say.
and it’s not a wireless society, either.
where did you put your USB cable?

user not authorized
don’t blame your nook
that one’s Adobe’s fault.

The OverDrive Media Console goes on your computer.
The OverDrive Media Console application goes on your phone.
Of course they would have the same name.

My paperback book
is worth just as much as your fancy iPad
if we drop them both in the pool.

Still need help with your OverDrive ebooks? Drop us a line. Poetry is optional.

– Amy

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Got a New eReader? Don’t Forget What Your Library Can Offer!

There was a major surge in the sale of eReaders this past holiday season, resulting in a significant increase of eBook downloads at public libraries. Indeed, according to Digital Library Blog — the official blog of the company, Overdrive, which supplies Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s downloadable eBooks — right around Christmas, library eBook downloads increased 93% compared to just a month earlier.

If you received an eReader during the holidays — or are interested in purchasing one — and want to know more about using it with the Library’s free resources, you should stop by one (or all) of our upcoming training sessions created by the Film and Audio Department in collaboration with the PC Center:

Gadget Lab: Wednesday, January 26th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm and Saturday, February 12th from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm — Bring your new gadget to our gadget lab and we’ll show you how to use it with the Library’s downloadable services. Don’t have a gadget of your own? Come to the lab and try out one of ours!  This event will be located in the Quiet Reading Room, and no registration is required.

Library Resources for Mobile Devices: Thursday, January 13th from 5:30-7:30 pm, and Saturday, January 22nd from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm — If you’d like to learn more about how to use the Library’s downloadable services, as well as receive a hands-on introduction to the major devices that work with these services, such as the Nook eReader or iPod Touch, then this class is for you. Both classes will be taught in the PC Center.  Registration is required, and can be completed by calling 412-622-3114.

If you can’t make it to one of these training sessions, it’s likely there will be more in the near future. In the meantime, you can always stop by the Library to ask your favorite librarian for help with your new device.

–Wes

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OMG PBS

Tired of watching internet videos of skateboard accidents on your smartphone? Looking for something a little more educational? Check out our massive new collection of super awesome* downloadable PBS videos, now available to us through OverDrive. There are 538 different titles to choose from (or from which to choose, if you prefer), and at approximately one hour each, that’s more than three weeks of solid public television goodness.

Here are some of the super awesome things that I found when I did an advanced search and chose PBS as the publisher (from that super awesome list of 49 publishers):

          

  • If you think Ian McKellen is good as Magneto, be sure to check him out as King Lear.
  • The Secrets of the Dead series is full of crazy things, like this documentary about the mysteries of female East German Olympic athletes. (We have more of this series on DVD, mainly because I’m in charge of buying nonfiction and I think they’re interesting.)
  • If you’ve ever wanted to learn way too much about life on an aircraft carrier but just can’t bring yourself to join the navy, try the series Carrier.

         

And just so you remember, OverDrive videos only work on Windows based computers and Windows compatible smart phones. Be sure to check out OverDrive’s FAQ page for more details.

– Amy

*apologies to Julie.

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What’s a Digital Bookmobile?

DBM rendering 3d small

The Digital Bookmobile is much larger in person.

According to OverDrive (and they should know), it’s a “high-tech update of the traditional bookmobile that has served communities for decades…equipped with broadband Internet-connected PCs, high-definition monitors, premium sound systems, and a variety of portable media players. Interactive computer stations give visitors an opportunity to search the digital media collection, use supported mobile devices, and download and enjoy audiobooks and video from the library.”

Basically, it’s a huge trailer full of really cool toys. I should know, as I visited it in Cleveland last July. Admittedly, at the time I was most struck by the air conditioning, but it was the height of summer.

You can enjoy both downloadable audiobooks and climate control in the Digital Bookmobile.

You can enjoy both downloadable audiobooks and climate control in the Digital Bookmobile.

Inside the digital bookmobile there are all sorts fun things – you can explore our downloadable audio and video collections, play with different MP3 and media players (a great hands-on experience for those who still aren’t sure what to buy), watch downloadable videos in action, and talk to staff from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and OverDrive. And not that librarians aren’t nice, but those OverDrive staffers are some of the nicest people ever – when I went to their conference in Cleveland, they gave me a frisbee. That was awesome.

But I digress. Forget my new frisbee and my obsession with air conditioning, and remember the important part: OverDrive’s Digital Bookmobile will visit CLP – Main from 11:30 – 2:30 on Monday, October 5th. We hope to see you there!

– Amy

Digital Bookmobile - New York City Skyline

New York City loves the Digital Bookmobile and you should, too!

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Hey there, iPod users!

Have we got news for you – Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh now offers iPod compatible downloadable audio books! And there was much rejoicing!

To see what’s available, start at our downloadable audio books page, and choose either OverDrive or NetLibrary

Some of OverDrive’s new MP3 titles are listed at the top of their page – there’s also a handy link that you can click to see a complete list. Right now, we have 123 MP3 titles for your listening pleasure!

Lost Boys     Killshot     His Illegal Self     Kafka On The Shore     Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up

The NetLibrary titles are a little trickier to find. Once you’ve logged in to the site, click on the Advanced Search link that’s just below the drop-down menu for the basic search. When you reach the advanced search page, scroll down to the Format section, check eAudiobooks and select MP3 from the drop-down menu. It’s worth the effort though, as you’ll find a list of 753 different MP3 titles that are available to anyone at any time!

Book Cover     Book Cover     Book Cover     Book Cover     Book Cover

As you can see, the NetLibrary covers are not as exciting as the OverDrive covers. But we still love them anyway.

All of our downloadable audio books are completely free to anyone who has a valid Allegheny county library card. If you have any questions or problems, just email us at eaudio@carnegielibrary.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. We promise.

Happy listening!

– Amy

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