OverDrive Media Console is a free app for Android and iOS that lets you download and listen to audio books from public libraries that use the OverDrive service. But OverDrive doesn’t just power the audio book lending services of most public libraries in the US, it also powers the digital eBook distribution for those libraries. Up until now, though, you couldn’t use the mobile app to read eBooks. It only worked with audio books. Until today.
This afternoon OverDrive pushed out new versions of its apps for Android and iOS which support library ePUB books. You can login to your public library website using the browser, and download eBooks directly to your device to be opened in the OverDrive Media Console app. When your loan period is up, the books will automatically be “returned.”
As an eBook reader, OverDrive is serviceable, but nothing to write home about. You can adjust text size and screen brightness within the app, hit a button to add bookmarks or view existing bookmarks, and view a table of contents for your book. That’s about it for the settings.
Page turns are sometimes much slower than on other smartphone eBook readers I’ve used, for example. Still, OverDrive is the first app available for Android which lets you read ePUBs from public libraries at all, so I’ll take what I can get for now.
You can check out some more screenshots after the break. OverDrive Media Console is available as a free download from the Android Market and the iTunes App Store.
Still, it’s not the only game in town. You can read library books on many dedicated eBook readers including the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Sony Reader line of eReaders. And recently a third party eBook reader for iOS called Bluefire added support for the Adobe DRM used by OverDrive, allowing users to take out library books and read them on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. And the developers of the Android eBook reader Aldiko plan to add a similar feature soon.