OverDrive Media Console – Library eBooks and Audiobooks

Category: 

Description of App: 

Download eBooks and audiobooks from your library directly to your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch!

OverDrive Media Console gives you on-the-go access to eBooks and audiobooks from your public, school, or college library. More than 15,000 libraries worldwide offer best-selling and classic titles via OverDrive, so use the ‘Get Books’ feature in the app to find a library near you.

How do library eBooks and audiobooks work?

Digital titles from your library are borrowed just like print material. Once you find your library using ‘Get Books,’ you can browse your library’s digital collection on the web, check out a title with a valid library card, and download the title directly to your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
While borrowing the digital title, you can enjoy it using the app’s eBook reader or audiobook player. Each EPUB eBook and MP3 audiobook that you check out has a lending period. The title automatically expires in the app at the end of the lending period, so there’s never a late fee. There’s even a handy countdown clock built into the app so you know how long you have to read or listen before the title expires.

What happens if a digital title is already checked out?

Just like with physical material from the library, you can join a waiting list. All you need to do is enter your email address and you’ll receive an alert when the title is available for check out.

Don’t want to wait? Many libraries offer thousands of EPUB eBook downloads that are always available. Just check for the ‘Additional eBooks’ link at the bottom of the digital collection homepage and you can get a free eBook from your library that’s yours to keep—without a lending period. You’ll discover timeless books and find yourself reading more than ever before with this diverse collection.

You can also download DRM-free EPUB eBooks from other online sources and read them in the OverDrive Media Console app.

Want more books?

Each library builds a custom digital collection of eBooks and audiobooks specifically for their local community. Contact your library and let them know that you are using OverDrive on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch and would like to see additional titles in the digital collection.

Version: 

2.6.4

Free or Paid: 

Free

Device(s) App Was Tested On: 

iPhone 4

Accessibility Comments: 

Apart from a couple of buttons that could be more clearly labelled, this app appears to be fully accessible to VoiceOver users.

Unfortunately I have not been able to fully test the app, as my local library does not support the OverDrive service. This means that I was only able to test the app with a single audiobook (which was only a short introduction to OverDrive). There was no problem with accessing the file or using the playback controls. I wasn't able to test the app with an eBook.

When viewing items in your library, there is a button after each title labelled 'Disclosure Arrow', which when double-tapped takes you to more information on that title.

Searching for a library that supports OverDrive was easy, as was marking a library as a favorite. When you want to browse the books available at a library, the app opens the library page in Safari. Browsing the books available from that library was accessible, although I could not test how accessible it would be to actually borrow a book.

When you run the app for the first time, you receive a pop-up alert. Unfortunately the text from this alert is not read by VoiceOver, so it is not immediately clear what you are being asked to do. The alert is asking that you provide an Adobe ID, so that the app can be authorized to view Adobe ePub files.

I wouldn't normally post an app to this site if I hadn't been able to fully test it for accessibility. However, I think it's worth making an exception in this case, as this could be a tremendously useful app for the blind. Hopefully somebody can give the app a more thorough testing, and post their findings.

VoiceOver Performance: 

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling: 

Most buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability: 

The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and is easy to navigate and use.

Comments

Use this app for Audiobook Borrowing

The current version of OverDrive Media Console (version 2.3.1 released May 27, 2011) when first run, shows a pop up offering the options "Sign In", "Register at Adobe.com", and "Cancel", This refers to signing in or registering for an Adobe ID for eBooks. You do not need to do this, since this step is meant to associate your ID with eBooks that require ADE (Adobe Digital Editions) DRM support. Any such DRM protected eBooks will not be accessible through VoiceOver. And if your library provides a link to Public Domain eBook titles, these can be downloaded without an Adobe ID (and opened in iBooks or other compatible apps on your device as well as in OverDrive). So just double tap "Cancel" on the pop up, the first time the app is run. While you do not need an Adobe ID to use this app, and having one will not give you access to your library's downloadable eBooks with digital rights management (DRM) since this will block screen-reader access to the material, you do need to have a library ID number with your local libary in order to download audiobooks. The audiobook borrowing portion of this app is perfectly accessible. You can preview samples of the audibook, too, from the detailed page link for the book. The easy way to navigate to sample links is to add "Image" to your web rotor under your main iPhone Settings (under Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver), and then use this setting to navigate to the "link image" just after "Email a friend", which will be announced like "Part 1, link image". Double tap to listen to a sample. If you flick right from this control (after returning from playing the sample), you'll reach the links for "Add to Cart" and "Add to Wishlist" OverDrive is one of the main audiobook download services used by libraries in the U.S. and Canada, but is also used by libraries internationally (e.g. Australia, U.K., etc.) Although I wouldn't use OverDrive to read eBooks without DRM in preference to iBooks, which is the one of the options you may be given via an "Open In" button should you download Public Domain eBooks from your library link, this app does have one advantage over Bluefire Reader, the other app with support for downloadable library ebooks (for readers who are not visually impaired). In Bluefire Reader, not just the eBooks with DRM, but every eBook you load into the reader is rendered unreadable by VoiceOver. So if you load in an eBook without DRM that can be read with VoiceOver in other eBook apps such as iBooks, that book cannot be read by VoiceOver just as though it had been a library downloaded eBook with Adobe's ADE DRM. The controls are accessible, it's just that the actual content of the eBooks is blocked to screen readers to comply with digital rights management.

unable to get a digital card.

Hi, I can't get a library or a digital library card. Can't someone please help me? I can't figure it out!!!

Adobe ID and eBooks

I just tried an ePub format book from my library (through OverDrive) on my iPad, which requires an Adobe ID in order to access, and it is totally accessible with VoiceOver. This was not a public domain book, as it was published in 2007. I think the DRM is only so that the file cannot be read on non-registered devices and so that the file will expire after three weeks, but it doesn't appear to affect screen reader access (although Adobe Digital Editions on my desktop, which the book could also be read on, is completely inaccessible). I'm not sure a PDF format book would work, and I will try other ePub books to make sure it's not just this one title, but so far I'm very impressed!

it's free but not simple to use

My county's site states that individual libraries may have additional titles to offer. I went for the county library since it usually offers the largest selection. First I tried to down load a pdf file. So I had to sign up for an adobe id, check out and download the book from my libraries website, then the pdf file only reads one chapter at a time. The navigation controls work great. Reading the chapter turned out to require right flicking into the chapter field then two finger down flick to read. Left flicks into the chapter field took me to the bottom of the chapter even though the # page of # of pages values never chaged. Then I tried the audio book and it turns out that I have to download the WMA files to my pc then transfer them to the IPhone. Wel it's free... I also hope to use this for my sighted son who prefers to see the progress of the books on the iphone screen rather than pressing all the wrong buttons on the booksense. LOL

Version 2.5 now released

The latest version of OverDrive (version 2.5) has been issued with a few changes and bug fixes, all of which are listed below: What's New in Version 2.5 -Added social sharing features to title details screen -Bug fixes & performance improvements

Version 2.6.3

Version 2.6.3 of OverDrive Media Console has been released to the app store, with the following release note: What's new in 2.6.3 Bug fixes - Thank you for your feedback!

Version 2.6.4

Version 2.6.4 has been released to the app store. What's New in Version 2.6.4 Bug fixes and performance improvements. Thank you for all your comments and suggestions!

DRM Protected Books Accessible

Just to reiterate earlier comments, I too have accessed DRM protected books through my local library. I've authorised OverDrive on my iPhone with my Adobe ID. I'm running the latest version as of this date (13 May 2013). The books read perfectly. I can navigate by line, word and character. I can touch anywhere on the page to read from that point, and I can continuous read one page. When reaching the end of the page while continuously reading the book does not, however, turn the page. I can select text, copy and define words. It's perhaps not quite as nice as iBooks, but it's very accessible.

Early returns

Has anyone tried returning books early? I have found this process to be inaccessible, as apparently little minus signs that are undetectable to voiceover. Next to each book, I had to have cited assistance with. Has anyone else figured out another way, I did this change and update that I don't know about?

Return and delete still seem inaccessible

With the latest update to this app you press and hold on a book title. I'm told visually buttons for delete, return and such appear. But these are invisible to VoiceOver. I've contacted OverDrive and my local library. We'll see what sort of result we get.

Indirect Response From Overdrive

I had mentioned the issues with deleting and returning books to my library as well since Overdrive support says that is what you need to do. I received this response. Thanks for pointing out this accessibility issue with the OverDrive Media Console. We passed on the details to the app developer and he added it to his list of voice-over related items that are targeted for mid-year integration.

I'm not sure if anyone else

I'm not sure if anyone else is experiencing this but after updating to iOS 7.1, Overdrive crashes for me when books are downloading. If VO isn't running or you are not downloading books with VO running the app still works fine. I've indirectly reported this to Overdrive through my local library, which as near as I can tell is the only way to report issues to Overdrive.