Brick and mortar bookstores have become a thing of the past. The local Barnes & Noble is now a deserted building filled with empty shelves. They’ve been replaced by the likes of Amazon’s Kindle Store and Apple’s iBookstore. Fearing printed books will go the way of the dinosaur, the same digital revolution is happening at local libraries. Over 19,000 of them have turned to a new platform called OverDrive. It allows library card holders to check out books and audiobooks to their mobile devices.
Download the App on your mobile device, sign in with your library card number, and you’re ready to go. You can browse the entire digital catalogue from anywhere with an internet connection. Checking out a book is a simple as tapping the download button on your screen. Instead of pesky return trips, ebooks on OverDrive are set to automatically expire and delete themselves from your device. Late fees are a thing of the past.
Overdrive isn’t perfect. Just like physical books, books on OverDrive can only be checked out to one person per license that a library purchases. Because ebooks do not wear out, these licenses can cost upwards of $40 per copy, which might explain why many libraries still have smaller digital inventories. If you’re looking to check out the latest Dan Brown novel, you’ll probably be waiting upwards of a month before it’ll be your turn in the queue.
Ebooks aren’t the only media libraries are offering digitally. Many are testing out programs that offer music, movies, and your favorite magazines. Renew your library card, and check out their offerings while you’re at it. You might just save a few dollars for that next iPad upgrade.