April 21, 2009

New Features and Format Added To OverDrive

OverDrive, one of the suppliers of downloadable ebooks and audiobooks to the Troy Public Library, has now started offering star ratings, patron defined lending times, and ebooks available in the EPUB format.

Star ratings are similar to the rating system used at Amazon. OverDrive users are now able to rate books on a scale from 1 to 5 stars, and also see what the average user rating is for an item.

Another new feature is patron defined lending times. Previously, all items (except for videos) were checked out for a total of 14 days, and could not be returned early. Now, if you don't need at item for a full checkout period, you can choose to have a checkout length of 7 days.

The biggest news from OverDrive is that ebooks are now available in the EPUB format, a format increasing in popularity. One of the main advantages of the this format is that the text is reflowable. Unlike a document in a pdf format, text in the EPUB format will rewrap itself to fit the size of the viewing area. This eliminates the need to scroll to see the rest of the page.

Another advantage is that items in the EPUB format can be downloaded to Sony Readers (but not to the Amazon Kindle). Additionally, if you have checked out ebooks before from OverDrive, you do not need to install new software. EPUB format items work with the Adobe Digital Editions software.

If you haven't used OverDrive, I encourage you to try it out. To access OverDrive, go to the Library's homepage and click "Downloadable eBooks, Audiobooks, and Videos" in the left side menu. From there, select "OverDrive". To use OverDrive you must have a valid Troy Library card.

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