Smashwords Portal Now Available On Hot Topic – Writing & Publishing

smashwordsRecently the Virtual Library launched a Smashwords portal on the Hot Topic – Writing and Publishing. This portal is for authors who are looking to sell their books, including marketing their book to libraries.  You can read more about the Smashwords co-branding in the article Public Libraries Embracing Self-Publishing Services.

OverDrive Listen is Now Available

overdrive listenOverDrive Listen, is now available for our audiobook collection! Similar to OverDrive Read for eBooks, OverDrive Listen offers the same ease of use; simply browse, borrow, and listen right in your browser with a single click. There are no downloads or software required; all you need is a compatible web browser and an Internet connection. Using OverDrive Listen, you can add bookmarks, take notes, or make highlights.

This additional listening option has been automatically added to MP3 audiobooks in our digital collection (where publisher permits) at no additional cost.

OverDrive Summer Reading Program

keepreading-600x300OverDrive is excited to introduce an inaugural OverDrive Summer Read program, designed to encourage students to keep reading all year long. This program aims to help prevent the Summer Slide by providing exciting titles young readers that are simultaneously available during the summer weeks. The below titles will be automatically added  with unlimited access from June 9-July 9 to our eReading Room For Kids Similar to the Big Library Read this program will enable young readers to enjoy these titles without any wait lists or holds during the summer.

The Fat Boy Chronicles by Diane Lang & Michael Buchanan. It’s bad enough being the new kid, but as a freshman, Jimmy finds school less enjoyable than many of his classmates. Standing 5’5″ and weighing 187 pounds, he’s subjected to a daily barrage of taunts and torments. His only sources of comfort are his family, his youth group, and his favorite foods. When his English teacher assigns a journal as a writing project, Jimmy chronicles not only his struggles but also his aspirations – to lose weight and win the girl of his dreams. Inspired by a true story and told in first-person journal entries, The Fat Boy Chronicles brings to life the pain and isolation felt by many overweight teenagers as they try to find their way in a world obsessed with outward beauty.

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas. It’s 1942: Tomi Itano, 12, is a second-generation Japanese American who lives in California with her family on their strawberry farm. Although her parents came from Japan and her grandparents still live there, Tomi considers herself an American. She doesn’t speak Japanese and has never been to Japan. But after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, things change. No Japs Allowed signs hang in store windows and Tomi’s family is ostracized.

Things get much worse. Suspected as a spy, Tomi’s father is taken away. The rest of the Itano family is sent to an internment camp in Colorado. Many other Japanese American families face a similar fate. Tomi becomes bitter, wondering how her country could treat her and her family like the enemy. What does she need to do to prove she is an honorable American? Sandra Dallas shines a light on a dark period of American history in this story of a young Japanese American girl caught up in the prejudices and World War II.

Look for them June 9th!

AR Lists on eMedia Catalogs

AR ListsWe have a new feature in OverDrive which I was able to use to create a group of books by AR levels. On the Kids eReading Room under Collections you will find 4 AR lists.

On the main eMedia Catalog there are two AR Lists for teens.

The lists are arranged by AR level. When you see the alphabet start over that is the next level i.e. 1.0-1.9, 2.0-2.9, and etc.

These are static lists so I will need to check them on a regular bases to add new titles to the lists.

Remember students can always use Advance Search to select an ATOS (AR) level and find books for their reading level.

Please let your patrons know about these lists and I hope you find them useful.

Helping Patrons with eMedia? Get the Device Guides!

kindlefire getting started picOn a Kindle Fire does the user use Kindle eBooks or ePUB eBooks?

This is just one question which can be confusing to library staff and patrons alike. There is quick help available to keep you straight. Visit the Media Drop and checkout the Device Guides folder. Inside you will find guides written by Virtual Library staff as well as a folder called Device Specific Guides. These sheets are provided by OverDrive and are short and sweet guides to each type of device out there.

You may want to print some and hand them out to your staff and patrons alike so you can provide better customer service.

Remember, if your not sure contact the Virtual Library at x6300 and we will help you.

New OverDrive Read Available October 15, 2014

ODR 10_2014OverDrive has announce that a new version of OverDrive Read, the browser-based eBook reading experience, is coming on October 15, 2014.

Earlier this year, OverDrive introduced support for fixed layout eBooks using EPUB3 and HTML5 technology, which allows books never before available in eBook format to be enjoyed digitally. The fixed layout nature honors the book’s original layout, image display, and fonts which are required for titles like The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, and Humans of New York. This update means that never-available-before eBooks like these are now available to our! Textbooks, children’s classics, cookbooks, travel guides, and more can now be enjoyed on any web-enabled device using OverDrive Read.

The enhanced OverDrive Read reading experience that is currently used for fixed layout eBooks will soon be extended to all eBooks. The interface eliminates distraction from the page layout because the newly-designed menu is now behind the eBook pages rather than to the right of the book. The new OverDrive Read also offers a two-page display on large screens for a true reading experience, and a single-page view on smaller screens (unless otherwise required by the publisher).

ODR 2This update retains all of the great features your users are currently enjoying in OverDrive Read, such as the ability to read offline, bookmarks, notes, search, and custom readability options. And, best of all, OverDrive Read is available with just one-click in any major modern web browser, and doesn’t require any software installation or device registration.

In order to adopt this new technology required to support fixed layout eBooks, OverDrive Read will no longer work in older versions of Internet Explorer (i.e., any IE version less than version 10) beginning October 15. Less than 0.2% of OverDrive Read usage is from a version of IE less than 10, so the few users impacted by this change will simply need to upgrade to a newer version of IE or switch to the most current versions of Chrome, Firefox, Android, Safari, or the standard browsers on devices like Kindle and Nook.

Coming August 4 – OverDrive Improvements!

Below is a summary of exciting updates for your OverDrive digital library website that are scheduled for release on Monday, August 4, 2014.

Suspend a Hold

This feature will allow users to temporarily suspend a hold in the waiting list. The user’s position will continue to advance in the queue while their hold is suspended, but the hold will not be filled. After the suspension ends, the title will continue to advance until the hold becomes available. If a user advances to the first position in the waiting list while the hold is suspended, the system will skip ahead to fill the next available hold.

suspend hold

suspend hold2suspend hold3

An OverDrive Help article to support this feature will be available at the time of the release.



Hold Auto-Checkout

At the time a user places a hold, the option to ‘auto-checkout’ the title when it becomes available can be set. Users who elect this option will receive a notification when their title is available confirming that it has been checked out and can beauto checkout found on their account bookshelf. Users who do not select this option will follow the current hold notification process.

auto checkout 2 Users who select this option but are unable to borrow the title at the time it becomes available (because they have already reached their maximum checkout limit, for example) will be sent the current hold notification email and will have the full hold pickup period to make their checkout.

An OverDrive Help article to support this feature will be available at the time of the release.


  • Maturity Settings

Two options will be added to the Account Settings page that will allow users to customize their browsing and discovery experience based on content maturity level:

The ability to exclude certain content based on the maturity level (Juvenile, YA, General, Adult). This will allow adult users to exclude titles for younger readers and young readers to exclude adult-only titles from their experience.



More information how to use this setting is available in this OverDrive Help article:

“Recommended for you” collection

After a user signs in, a collection of recommended titles will appear on the homepage. Recommended titles will be available for checkout and suggested based on titles the user currently has checked out or on hold. If a user does not have any checkouts or holds, this collection will not appear.

recommended for you “And” Boolean Searching

Based on partner feedback to improve search results, default search behavior will change from “OR” to “AND.” Following this change, the number of results returned for a search will likely be lower than with the current behavior, but this change will meaningfully improve the relevancy of the results.

Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements

Window shopping just got a whole lot more enticing with Virtual Book Shelves

virtual shelvesLowther Hall Anglican Grammar School in Australia has transformed their Library Resource Center windows into “virtual library shelves” by decorating them with book covers. Now that would be enough to grab my attention, but they’ve taken it one step further and added QR codes on the covers so that students can scan them with their smart phone or tablet. They’re then taken directly to the title’s details page on their school’s OverDrive digital library, where students are able to easily borrow the title.
Lowther Hall has seen an increase in checkouts each month in 2014, and giving their students such visible and quick access to their titles has certainly been a big reason why.

Got a windows where you could create a virtual book shelve? Why not give this idea a try and see if your circulation increases.

To link directly to the book’s full record in the eMedia Catalog format your url for the QR code like this:

  1. Copy the URL from the full record page in the eMedia Catalog
  2. Delete everything after .org/ to /Content… so the URL will look like this:

New Feature in OMC App Explained

defineWe had a patron who’s trying to use the “touch a word to get a definition” in the OMC app, on his Samsung tablet, while he is NOT connected to the Internet. He gets an error every time he tries it. It works fine (offline) on his iPad.

We checked with Overdrive. Touch to Define (offline) is ONLY a feature on the iOS App. Android devices MUST be connected to the Internet for that feature to work.

Adding “Touch to Define Offline” to the Android App is on their Wish List, but it’s not in development at this time, and there’s no ETA for that.

To learn more about how to use this feature along with taking notes see the OverDrive Help article How to take notes, highlight text, and use the dictionary in an OverDrive Read eBook

eMedia Catalog Updates on May 29, 2014

Below is a summary of updates for our eMedia Catalog that are scheduled for release on Thursday, May 29, 2014.

  • The layout of the homepage will be updated to feature collections with smaller, more mobile-friendly images.
    New Releases
  • This layout update will also reduce user clicks by adding the ability to borrow, sample, add to Wish List, share, and see title details all directly from the cover image.
    new releases 2
  • The “Grid” view option on search results pages will be removed. This option was used less than 2% of the time, and removing it maximizes space for the responsive design.
    new releases 3
  • A more prominent treatment for the Big Library Read title will be added, with information about the program itself. (We will be participating in the Big Library Read June 3-18, 2014)
    big read
  •  Bug fixes and performance updates

OverDrive now has a website just for end users

overdrivecomIf you didn’t know, most users access our eMedia catalog from the website which was also their company site. Starting today they have launched as just a site for end users. It provides a simple way to find their local library, search for titles to borrow, download the OverDrive app and find help articles. All of the information about OverDrive the company is still available it just moved over to All partner resources can still be found at

The new allows users the chance to sign up for an OverDrive account, which provides many great features to ensure a positive experience using your digital library. Users are able to search the entire OverDrive catalog on and filter the results by their saved libraries, as well as save their favorite searches to use time and again. The OverDrive account is optional, and enables users to save an Adobe ID to sync across all devices running the OverDrive app (v3.1) on Android and iOS platforms (Windows 8 is forthcoming as well). This means they only have to enter their Adobe ID once, and then can sync it to all of their devices using the OverDrive app. The app also has added enhancements including a custom embedded streaming video player and a built-in iOS dictionary on iOS devices. This creates a more streamlined experience for your users.

Feel free to give it a try.

OMC Discontinued for Blackberry Devices

Effective April 10, 2014, the OverDrive Media Console (OMC) mobile app for BlackBerry will no longer be available to download on BlackBerry, BlackBerry 10, and Playbook devices.

BlackBerry users with the app installed prior to April 10 will be able to continue downloading eBooks and audiobooks via OMC. However, no further development or testing will be dedicated to it.

In the past year, OMC for BlackBerry has experienced a steady decline in downloads. Only .3% of all visitors to digital library websites come from a BlackBerry device. After much consideration, OverDrive has decided to remove the app from BlackBerry App World and continue to focus our development efforts on more widely used platforms such as iOS and Android—both of which have more daily downloads than BlackBerry has monthly.

Without the OMC app you can always use OverDrive Read to get eBooks.

Visit the eMedia Catalog for a great selection of eBooks and eAudio Books as well as our new Kids eReading Room.

Up Dates Next Monday January 27, 2014

share 2014Below is a summary of updates for eMedia Catalog that are scheduled for release on Monday, January 27,2014.

  • Pinterest will be added to the existing “share” options on the title details page.
  • Title sample links will be moved from the cover image to a distinct button beneath the cover in both mobile and desktop sample 2014view.
  • Hold notification emails will be updated from plain text to HTML formatting and will link users directly to their Holds page. If a user’s email setting does not allow for HTML, the email will be sent in plain text.
  • Accessibility improvements for visually impaired users.
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements.

Promotion Idea from OverDrive

books to movie jan 2014Books that will soon become movies

Posted January 9, 2014 by under Library, Promotional Ideas, Schools.

In my last post, I talked about books that were made into movies throughout 2013. I didn’t hit all of them, trying instead to focus on the ones that I found intriguing.  In this post, I’ll talk a little about some movies destined for the big screen in the near future that are already popular books.

After the list, I’ll include some ideas we’ve come up with to promote these titles in the library.

Coming attractions

  1. Divergent by Veronica Roth: People are saying that this is the next Hunger Games. I don’t know about that, but I can definitely see the similarities in the book synopses and the movie previews. I plan on giving this one a read soon so I can see what all the hype is about. In any case, you’ve got until March of 2014 to squeeze this one in before the movie comes out.
  2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner: This movie isn’t coming out until September of 2014, so you’ve got a little time for reading. I’m told the book is quite good, and it’s pretty popular. With a major motion picture coming soon, it’s only going to become more so.  This one also has a bit of the Hunger Games feel to it from what I’ve heard.
  3. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin: Apparently io9 loves this book, and I’m a big fan of io9, so I’ll probably be reading it shortly. With the movie coming in February of 2014, there’s no time like the present to start building hype.
  4. The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: There’s no definite date set for this movie’s release, but it’s got some big names attached to it already. Personally, I find Neil Gaiman to be pretty fantastic, and am excited to read this book just as soon as I can get to it. If you haven’t guessed by now, I have a whole lot of books on my “to-read” list. Gaiman’s Stardust (both the book and movie) was awesome (if underrated).
  5. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (January 2014): As far as I know, this movie isn’t based on a specific Tom Clancy novel, but Jack Ryan is a recurring character in 16 of his books. The first novel (chronologically) is Without Remorse if you’d like somewhere to start before the movie comes out.  I’ve read a few of these books and enjoyed them.  Kenneth Branagh is directing the movie, and I’m definitely a fan (mostly for his Shakespeare stuff), so my hopes are high.
  6. The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney: This novel is known simply as The Spook’s Apprentice in the U.K.  I haven’t gotten around to reading this one yet, but the movie has been pushed back to 2015 (and is now called “Seventh Son”) so we have some time. The book has garnered quite the following, and, as for the movie, who doesn’t love Jeff Bridges?

Using movie hype to drive interest in the books

  • Get large movie posters and plaster them all over the place a few weeks before the movie comes out. Somewhere close to each poster, put up a sign that shows off the title in your digital collection. The sign could be as simple as a title details page screenshot or a statement saying “Borrow the eBook or audiobook from our digital collection!” You could also get fancy and generate a QR code with a direct link to the mobile title details page.
  • Once you’ve got posters (or some other signage) up, talk about the books. Make sure people hear that it was a book first.  Read the books so you know what you’re talking about and spread the word yourself.
  • Soon after the movie releases, have some popcorn and hold a book discussion comparing the book to the movie. You can promote the event ahead of time to generate some buzz (and circulation) around the title. The group book discussion will also help generate some word-of-mouth advertising for both the digital content and the library in general.
  • Have fun with it!  When the next Hobbit movie comes out (for example), have someone dress up as Gandalf to promote the fact that people can download the book for free from their library.  You can put out Hobbit-themed food, or hold a trivia contest with a fake golden ring as the prize.
  • Play related movies on Library TVs as release day approaches.  This isn’t always possible, but with a series it can work.  You can show either of the Hunger Games movies when the release of Mockingjay draws near, for example. Or build buzz for corresponding books around a TV series like Game of Thrones prior to the next season’s premier.

Need help getting started? We have a few sample “Book to Movie” flyers available for download in the Partner Portal.

Quinton Lawman is a Technical Writer on the Knowledge Services team at OverDrive.

Getting Started Guides for Users

fillup your deviceWith Christmas only two weeks away, your patrons will be bring in their new devices to learn how to download eBooks, eAudio Books, Freegal Music and Zinio Magazines. So it’s time to get prepared! Below are the official LVCCLD getting started guides for these library resources.  Please use them with your patrons.

The first three getting started guides below are also in the eMedia Drop in the Getting Started folder.

Getting Started Guides

For eBooks on all devices – eBook Downloading 101 v.2014

For tablets owners don’t forget to to tell them about how to get free magazines to keep from the Library. Getting Started with Zinio

Did they get a new tablet, MP3 player or iPod? Do they want to listen to eAudio books or music?

Give them:  How to Download eAudio Books

Hot Topics

For free music to keep : Freegal Music – There’s an App for That!

If they don’t have a clue how their new device works direct them to our Technology Hot Topic – Computers, Tablets & The Internet which has very short videos on the basic of using an iPad or Android tablet.

Kindle eBooks from From Penguin – We have an Issue!

I know weKindle Family 2012 got the memo saying that the Penguin “USB ONLY” is a thing of the past.  That turns out NOT to be the case. Overdrive and Amazon are still working the kinks out. If a Kindle patron checks out a Penguin title, and tries to transfer it, they’ll still get the “Must be transferred via USB AT THE FINAL STEP.”

There is also another problem – the NEW Penguin titles do NOT have the USB ONLY memo on the Format screen.  (This is true for titles we purchased AFTER the announcement was sent out). The Older Penguin titles still have the USB transfer note.

We are working with OverDrive to get the message on the New Penguin titles. We will let you know when it is resolved.

Programming ideas to Promote eMedia

ebook-on-tapOverDrive has created some ready-to-go programming kits. Each kit contains some brief instructions and appropriate marketing materials and handouts.
Fun programming ideas now available on the Partner Portal:

eBooks on Tap

Take your promotion outside your library doors and engage with your community in a unique setting. We recommend crashing a local Happy Hour or popular restaurant at lunch hour (with the establishment’s approval, of course) to promote your digital collection. Have a table set up with devices and handouts. Mingle and engage patrons with the service. Just make sure library staff is tapping more screens than kegs.

Apps and Apps

Educate your community on a wonderful reading app, OverDrive Media Console (OMC). Serve appetizers during the event (you can keep it simple with just cheese and crackers). Encourage folks to bring their own devices to download and learn about OMC and have a few devices pre-loaded with titles for folks to try out.

eBook Story Hour

Dedicate a story hour using simultaneous use eBooks for children. Encourage folks to BYOD so they can follow along, or enlarge titles by using a projector.

Digital Book Club
Ideas, tips and resources for creating a Digital Book Club for your library.

The Virtual Library has a 4 foot high iPad for your event or display. If interested please contact the Virtual Library for availability of the iPad.