I just discovered Overdrive Media Console, a cool app which lets me find, check-out and read ebooks from the local library on my iPad. The app is free on the iTunes store and you do not have to pay anything to reserve and/or borrow digital books online. Overdrive, the company which developed this app is based in the US with an office in Australia, is a digital distributor of ebooks, audiobooks, music and video worldwide.
I have been using this console for a couple of days and I love it. The search, check-out and return functions are intuitive. The interface is clean, simple, and has functions that are similar to those in iBooks. The console allows you to create bookmarks, look up the meaning of a word, or change the look (such as margins, number of columns, line spacing, text alignment and fonts) of your reading screen just by tapping an icon. It looks like Overdrive has been around for quite a while, so why has it taken me so long to learn about it…?!
The entire process of using Overdrive is straightforward. All you have to do is to download the app from iTunes (I am fairly sure it is compatible with the Androids), add your local library to the database, find a digital title or audio-title, check-out or place a hold on it (if the available digital copies have been loaned out), download the title and you can start reading! Once you are done with the title, you can easily return it just by tapping an icon. If you prefer not to download the digital title, the console allows you to read the ebook through the built-in browser, or a browser of choice.
I added the Singapore National Library to the console. Out of curiosity, I performed a search on the library database and learnt that there are many libraries around the world which are part of the OverDrive database. I have no access to these overseas libraries as I do not have a membership account with them.