4 Things Readers REALLY Want From OverDrive
There's that old saying that beggars can't be choosers, but I think the OverDrive app has a lot of potential and could be doing some things better.
First, a little context. OverDrive is the platform public libraries use to deliver ebooks and digital audiobooks to their patrons. You can sign in to OverDrive with your library card number and checkout titles straight to your computer and/or smartphone. It's nifty! I mainly use it for audiobooks and I've read a lot more books that way.
However, there are a couple of things OverDrive could do that would vastly improve the user experience. Anyone who's been using it awhile has likely noticed that it's a little on the clunky side and you sometimes have to go digging for information. Here's what I'd like to see in the OverDrive app, and I think my fellow digital library patrons will agree:
Just tell me how many people are on the holds list...
I can't be the only one who has enthusiastically placed a book on hold only to find out AFTER clicking "place on hold" that there are 45 people ahead of me. Because there's a limit to how many books you can have on hold at any given time, I may not want to place a title on hold if it looks like it'll be a year or more before I get it. It'd be nice to know that ahead of time without having to dig for the info.
Learn from Amazon---WhisperSync is awesome.
Amazon has this cool thing called WhisperSync where you can seamlessly switch between the audio version and ebook version of a book, so you can read either version depending on what situation you find yourself reading in. Since OverDrive has both ebooks and audiobooks, it would be cool to see them do something like this. I know this could get tricky with a high number of people on the holds list for each, but since, in theory, you'd be able to read faster by having the book in both formats, they could lessen the lending period (perhaps one or two weeks instead of three) to make up for it.
For the love of all that's holy, make the browser version of the audiobook and the app version line up!
This should go without saying and it's definitely my biggest beef with OverDrive. Because I work from home, it's easy for me to have an audiobook up in my browser, so when I go on lunch I can hit play and not have to switch devices. However, there are a couple of times when I know I'm going to be in the car awhile and I really want to continue my audiobook in the car. What I found was that the browser version of the audiobook shows you the full length of the book. So, for example, if the book is 15 hours long, it'll start at 15 and count down to zero.
However, if you open that same audiobook in the OverDrive app, it'll play it in sections or chapters and you may not have any idea where that particular section or chapter fits into the larger 15-hour audiobook. I understand why they do it---if you're only going to be in the car for 30 minutes you probably don't want to download a whole book, especially if you have limited space on your device. But it's INFURIATING to try to switch between devices and not be able to find your spot.
Better integration with your phone's other audio components.
If you're driving and you want to listen to an audiobook, but you also need a GPS, it can be an annoying process. Sometimes the OverDrive app doesn't play well with the Google Maps app, so they talk over each other. You don't want to miss a turn, but you also don't want to miss the story. And you shouldn't have to choose.
Again, I love having OverDrive and I appreciate being able to get ebooks and audiobooks for free from the library, but there are some things I think they can improve upon. Hopefully they'll catch on to what their users want soon.