Posted December 13, 2016on:
Last week I mentioned how I was “reading” an audio book for the first time using the OverDrive app.I downloaded the free app on my iPad initially and later on my iPhone. Here are some thoughts so far about using the app. The good thing about the app and the library service is that both are free. I do not have to pay a cent immediately out of pocket. It is nice to see some of my tax dollars at work.
Now for the bad.
My biggest bugbear is that the book I borrowed is either audio only or text only, not both. I thought that the enhanced version would be both text and audio-based, and this was why I initially installed OverDrive to my iPad. I thought I could listen to the book when my hands were busy and go back to actually reading when they were not. But I made the wrong assumption.
This also meant that I had to borrow the same title twice: The audio book and the text-based book. Each counts against my borrowing limit.
The app has a sync function but it does not seem be working*. It does not sync the downloads between devices. As a result, I have not been able to test if bookmarking in one device leads to a synchronised bookmark in another. One reason for this lack of syncing seems to be the fact that OverDrive keeps forgetting login information to my OverDrive and library accounts.
*Update 1: After manually forcing audio downloads to my iPhone, I have discovered that syncing occurs, but is imperfect. It was several paragraphs (about a minute of audio) off in one instance.
*Update 2: I cannot copy text from the book. This makes note-taking and quote-making an unnecessarily frustrating experience.
Perhaps my complaints are newbie issues. I have barely used the app for a week and am reluctant to use it due to its clunkiness. Perhaps I chose a title whose publisher was struggling with legacy mindsets and offered either-or instead of two-in-one.
Perhaps I have been spoilt by other apps like the default Podcast in iOS. This app that automatically downloads content and syncs it between my iPhone and iMac so that I can listen to podcasts in different contexts. I can start listening on the move on my iPhone, sit down at my iMac and continue where I last left it. This is so very Netflix.
Perhaps there is a design and usability lesson in all this. The new invariably learns from the old: The issues, limitations, hangups, etc. But the old remains old by stubbornly holding on to what is losing relevance. That is why it is called old.