Free eBooks from OverDrive + LibriVox = no-cost enhanced digital books

Good news for libraries looking for cost-savings and cutting edge digital content. OverDrive Media’s 15,000 titles from Project  Gutenberg are free to add to your collection. This large addition of adult & children’s  classics boost the digital content available to your patrons. OverDrive has released this eBook Device Cheat Sheet for libraries & patrons, noting eReaders that are compatible with the OverDrive download software – with the notable absence of the Amazon Kindle. One plus for the Sony & Nook eReaders is that both allow multitasking – you can both listen to an MP3 audiobook file downloaded to the reader while reading an eBook text, unlike the Kindle. This functionality allows the creation of a do-it-yourself enhanced text+audio eBook!

A commonly-touted benefit for the Kindle 3 is the robotic text-to-speech function. With a little tech-savvyness, users can combine free Project Gutenberg titles with a HUMAN voice from LibriVox’s free audiobooks for a text-to-TALK enhanced eBook on the Sony Reader or Nook. I’m not sure about the other digital readers on the OverDrive cheat sheet, but I think the notation of listen-while-reading functionality would be an important addition to the cheat sheet. The combination of LibriVox+eBook expands resources for the print-disabled, English language learners, those with learning disabilities, as well as users who just like to toggle back & forth from text to listening. Of course, patrons can also combine listening to an MP3 audiobook downloaded from the public library’s OverDrive collection with the eBook as well – but if funds are low, and the library can’t purchase an audiobook for every free Project Gutenberg title, the LibriVox collection of volunteer-read books equals no-cost content. A short how-to sheet or link to the LibriVox how-to videos plus promos on the library website and at the circulation desk will alert your digital patrons to a new way to enhance their reading – especially those plugged-in high school students in British Lit classes! And soon I’ll be able to listen to LibriVox while I read on my multifuction Android phone, with the OverDrive app demonstrated in the video below! But I suspect the biggest fans of LibriVox + OverDrive Project Gutenberg classics will be the the largest category of eBook readers – those who read on their computer – sure to be a popular option for students & seniors alike!



About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

2 Comments on "Free eBooks from OverDrive + LibriVox = no-cost enhanced digital books"

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  1. Hot dog! This is the answer to a librarian’s prayer.
    Sounds like android phones are the way to go.
    Thank you!

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