Just up until a few months ago the online ebook systems of the libraries were a mess. There were too many players trying to get the free audiobooks to the consumers. OverDrive seems to have finally dominated the market which has made it easier to borrow ebooks and audiobooks.
This post is about getting free audiobooks from the library. The next best option is Audible and I’ve written about them before. I heart the shit out of Audible.
Books have become an investment for me and I have no problem spending money in that category. But with free audiobooks at my local library I can’t justify paying for each individual audiobook.
I haven’t gotten into the Kindle thing yet but see others around me enjoying it. I guess I don’t read books as much for leisure, it’s about content digestion – ideally at 2x speed.
The Overdrive App
The whole backbone of ebooks and audiobooks is the OverDrive app. It allows you to directly connect to each library system which is incredibly convenient.
You can listen to audiobooks at up to 2x speed which is wonderful. 2.5x would be ideal but I’m sure they will be adding that eventually. Most other apps don’t allow other speed options.
This is what the screen looks like when I pull up an audiobook that I’ve downloaded.
On the top right I can place bookmarks or jump round chapters. I rarely use these features.
I can adjust the speed and I can set a timer to turn off if I’m listening to a book before going to bed. Find a nice boring economic book and it’s better than Ambien.
Downloading Free Audiobooks
When I click (press?) on the top left I get to the section of the libraries I have cards at. I also get to access the books I have already downloaded on the “Bookshelf” link.
The location on the book gets saved which is brilliant. Even if the book expires before I finish it, I can download it again when it becomes available and it will pick up where it left off.
“History” will show all the books I’ve listened to and it looks like the app saves a pretty extensive history.
“Files” is where each chapter for each book gets downloaded. I can’t imagine anyone having problems with space on their phone but if you need to then you can delete or download one section at a time.
Finding Free AudioBooks
The search function isn’t very intuitive but you’ll get the hang of it.
I click on my library, click on that little stack of books icon, then select my filters: “adult” “nonfiction” “English” “audiobooks”.
And below that you can choose the “availability”. I don’t care much about that because even if a book isn’t available I place a hold on it and it gets added automatically to my app and ready for download when it’s my turn.
The OverDrive Website
Another easy way to look for your ebooks is to go to your library’s website and then click on the OverDrive link. This is much better than going to the OverDrive website directly.
On your library’s website you can much easier navigate the search function. And of course the ebooks will be added to your queue on your app.
OverDrive vs Audible
The advantage of Audible is that you get to own the books. The selection of course is quite a bit better too. Audible’s interface is brilliant.
The downside is that it costs $15/month on the low-end and you get 1 book a month for that price. I listen to more than that and generally don’t care to own the books.
As far as the apps, both are very usable. So it probably comes down to cost and the ownership.