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Using Overdrive on the NOOK HD or NOOK HD+

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Overdrive Media Console is a free app available for reading and listening to library content. Using Overdrive means you do not have to sideload content. Instead, you can directly find and download content to your NOOK without ever connecting to your computer. Patrick Kanouse describes how to use Overdrive Media Console for reading ebooks and listening to audiobooks.
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If you have checked out an ebook from the library, you may have gone through the routine of downloading it to your computer, opening it in Adobe Digital Editions, and copying it over to your NOOK. Well, you may no longer have to do that. Many libraries use Overdrive to deliver ebooks and audiobooks to library patrons. And Overdrive offers a free app that allows you to interface directly with the library from your NOOK device.

This article will describe how to use the Overdrive app to read and listen to books you have checked out from your library. First things first, though: Fire up the NOOK Store on your NOOK and search for Overdrive. Tap Free to "purchase" the app and download it to your NOOK.

Setting Up Overdrive

Once Overdrive is installed, you can access the settings for Overdrive overall, by tapping the Settings button from the Bookshelf. When you do so, you see three screens like those shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Overdrive settings

The first thing you'll need to do is to enter your Adobe ID. Adobe IDs are free, but they are necessary for reading Adobe DRM secured books, which is used by many libraries. If you don't have an ID, tap Get a Free Adobe ID, which launches the browser. Provide the information to Adobe. When you have an Adobe ID, go back to the Overdrive Settings screen and enter your Adobe ID and password and tap Authorize. If you have authorized this device already, you can tap Deauthorize. Your Adobe ID is good for using on five different devices, so you may need to deauthorize your NOOK for another device.

Let's go through some of the other settings shown in these screens:

  • Open in Full-Screen Mode: If this option is selected, when you open the ebook, it should open to a full screen. However, I have found no difference on the NOOK regardless of whether this is on or not.
  • Show eBook Help Pop-Up: If this option is on, whenever you open an ebook, a pop-up screen appears at first that offers details about how to use Overdrive.
  • Screen Brightness: Use this option to set the screen brightness, which you can set to use the NOOK's brightness setting. Brightness options are also available when reading an ebook.
  • Enable Headset Button for Play/Pause, Prev/Next: Many earphones have buttons on the wire or on the ear part itself that can control play, pause, etc., by pressing the button (the actual controls depend on your particular earphones). If you want to use those controls, make sure this setting is set to On.
  • Auto-Play After Selecting a Title: By default, whenever you start an audiobook, it automatically plays. If you turn this setting off, when you open an audiobook, you will have to tap the Play button.
  • When Resuming Playback, Replay Previous: When you stop an audiobook and return to it later, by default, the playback starts three seconds earlier than the time on the bookmark or last location. You can adjust how much is replayed by tapping the drop-down arrow and choosing from among the numerous options (from 0 [Disabled] to 20 seconds).
  • Show About Pop-Up When App Starts: Whenever you start Overdrive, a pop-up screen appears that gives the latest information regarding updates and whatnot. You can turn off this pop-up by turning this feature off here.
  • Auto-Download Files When Adding a New Title: Whenever you add a new title, Overdrive can automatically begin downloading the titles. This option is not always available for all libraries.
  • Disconnect Social Networks: If you have been sharing books or audiobooks you've been reading via the Share menu (see "Using a Book's Share Options" later in this article), you can force Overdrive to forget your Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads account information by tapping Disconnect.
  • Remember Deleted Titles: If you delete a title and then decide you want to download it again, this option determines whether Overdrive remembers the bookmarks for those titles. By default, Overdrive remembers the last 10, but you can adjust the number here.
  • Why remember? In my own case, I started reading Jim Butcher's Dresden series. My library has an omnibus edition, which includes six books, far more than I could read in a given loan period. So when I renew, it will remember that location.

  • Display Notifications: In the NOOK status area, you can control information that Overdrive provides. You have three options that can appear in status area: Download Progress, Download Complete, and Transferred Titles.
  • Save Downloaded Titles To Storage: Your NOOK has two storage options: App Storage (the device itself) and Memory Card (an installed microSD card). If you have a microSD card installed, Overdrive will automatically download titles it. However, you can adjust it so that Overdrive downloads to the NOOK's internal storage.
  • Error Details: If Overdrive experiences errors, it records them. Here, you can send that log to Overdrive by clicking Send to Overdrive. The error log information helps Overdrive improve their product. If you tap Reset Log, the log is cleared out.
  • Privacy: This setting basically determines if you agree to send usage data to Overdrive to help improve future releases and features. The data is sent anonymously, but if you do not want it sent, turn off Send Anonymous Usage Data.

Getting Books for Overdrive

One of the great things about Overdrive is that you can find and download books directly from your NOOK device. The instructions below assume you have not set up a library yet and do so accordingly. Additionally, libraries will differ in how you access and download titles, so these instructions may need to be adjusted to your specific library. Additionally, note that you will need a valid library card.

  1. Tap the Add Library button.
  2. Enter your zip code and tap Search.
  3. From the results that appear, tap your library. The library is added to your list.
  4. Tap the Get Books button.
  5. Tap the library you want. At this point, Overdrive essentially starts functioning like a web browser. A screen for that library appears (see Figure 2).
  6. Figure 2 My local library's digital content web page

  7. Tap Login.
  8. Select the Library name (many libraries have connections with a larger grouping of libraries—for example, my local library is affiliated with Indiana Digital Media, in which a dozen or so libraries participate).
  9. Enter your library card number and password. Tap Login. The screen refreshes.
  10. Browse or search for the title you want. When you find a book or audiobook you want to check out, tap Add to Cart.
  11. Tap Proceed to Checkout.
  12. Tap Confirm Checkout. My library allows me to adjust the lending period. The screen changes to the Download screen (see Figure 3).
  13. Figure 3 I can now download my checked-out items.

  14. Tap Download. The content is downloaded to my NOOK device.

Navigating the Bookshelf

You access your content, whether downloaded or not, via your Bookshelf (see Figure 4). The Bookshelf displays all the content you have available. A few things about this screen:

Figure 4 The Bookshelf with the Options menu showing

The Options menu offers several items:

  • Sort By: When you tap this option, you can sort the contents of the Bookshelf by Title, Expiration Date, or Most Recent.
  • Last Opened: Tap this to open the most recent ebook or audiobook you had read or listened to.
  • Downloads: Tap this to open a screen of in-progress downloads (see Figure 5). You can cancel a specific file download by tapping the button on the far right, which changes to a red trash can. Tap all that you want to cancel and then tap Cancel at the bottom.
  • Figure 5 The Downloads screen

  • All Bookmarks: Tap this to go to a bookmarks screen. All bookmarks for all currently downloaded titles are visible here, so you can tap whichever one you want to launch the book or audiobook.
  • Deleted Titles: Tap this to see all the titles you have deleted.
  • Help: Tap this to show a screen of help topics.
  • Send Feedback: If you have feedback for Overdrive, tap this and then tap Email. This opens an email message. Type your feedback and tap Send.
  • About Media Console: Tap this to get a pop-up box that describes which version of Overdrive you are currently using and the changes that have been made for the past versions.

Just to the bottom right of the cover, you see a couple of bits of information. You can quickly glance and see whether it is an audiobook or an ebook. Additionally, the calendar icon displays the number of days left on the loan. When the loan expires, the book is removed from Overdrive (no late fees again, ever!).

If you have not downloaded content, you see the Download button. If you tap the Download button or the cover, you get the same result: You have to download it first and do you want to do so? Tap Yes. Most books consist of a single file, while audiobooks can contain multiple files. The easiest thing is to tap Download All, which downloads all the files. If you want to be choosy about which files to download, you can tap individual files (tap the circle to the far right of the file) and then tap Cancel.

If you tap the plus sign next to a title, you get a couple of options: Return/Delete and Details. If you tap Return/Delete, a screen pops up with three options: Return then Delete, Delete Only, and Cancel. Tap Return then Delete if you are done with the book and want to return it to the library and remove it from all your Overdrive locations. Tap Delete Only to remove the title from this Overdrive location only.

If you tap Details, you see the Details screen (see Figure 6). Details provides some information about the book, days remaining in the loan, and other information. Tap Share to see the sharing options (see "Using the Book's Share Options" later for more information about sharing). Tap the cover to open the ebook.

Figure 6 The Details screen

Tap Files to see the files associated with the ebook or audiobook. Most books consist of a single file, while audiobooks can contain multiple files. The easiest thing is to tap Download All, which downloads all the files. If you want to be choosy about which files to download, you can tap individual files (tap the circle to the far right of the file) and then tap Delete. You can also tap Delete All to delete all files without choosing specific files.

Tap Cover to see a close up of the cover.

Reading a Book

After you open a book, you have a variety of options to control your reading experience (see Figure 7). First, if you have started the book, when you open it again, you will arrive at your last location. At the top of the screen, you have a number of options:

Figure 7 Reading an ebook

  • Contents: Tap this to show a scrollable list of contents for the book. Tap the location you want to go to; the list disappears and the book jumps to that location. To get out of the table of contents, tap the Back arrow down at the very bottom of the screen.
  • Settings: Tap this to access a number of settings that control the appearance of the reading screen. We'll explore this menu more below.
  • Add Bookmark: Tap this to add a bookmark for this page.
  • Share: Tap this to share what you're reading. We'll explore this menu more below.
  • Options: Provides a series of options related to the title. See the earlier section "Book Details Screen" to learn more about Details.
  • If you tap Return/Delete, a screen pops up with three options: Return then Delete, Delete Only, Cancel. Tap Return then Delete if you are done with the book and want to return it to the library and remove it from all your Overdrive locations. Tap Delete Only to remove the title from this Overdrive location only. Tap Cancel to return to the reading screen.

    Tap Bookshelf to return to your bookshelf.

    Tap Bookmarks (This Title) to see the bookmarks you have added to this title. A screen appears and shows you the bookmarks. Tap the bookmark to jump to that location or tap the Back arrow to return to the reading screen.

    Tap Bookmarks (All Titles) to jump to a screen that displays all the bookmarks you have added to any title in your bookshelf. You can tap a bookmark to jump to that location in any of the content (assuming you have downloaded it already). Tap the Back arrow to return to the reading screen.

Reading a book is really quite simple. Swipe left or right to move forward or backward, respectively. You can also tap the right or left edge of the page to move forward or backward. If you tap the screen itself, you see a progress indicator (see Figure 8).

Figure 8 My progress

While you cannot add notes or highlight text in Overdrive books, you can look up words in a dictionary. To do so, press and hold a word. The word highlights and a pop-up box appears (see Figure 9). You can also tap in the box where the search word appears and enter your own word to look up a definition for.

Figure 9 Selecting a word to look up

Tap the magnifying glass to look up the definition (see Figure 10).

Figure 10 Looking up a word

After reviewing the definition, tap Close to go back to the book. You can also tap Wikipedia to open a browser with the search word entered already.

Using a Book's Settings

As mentioned in the previous section, the Settings menu offers numerous options (see Figure 11). So let's explore each in turn.

Figure 11 An ebook's Settings menu

  • Brightness: When you tap this, a dialog appears. Slide the scrollbar to set the level of brightness you want. By default, the brightness is the same as what you have set the NOOK brightness setting at. If you turn off Use Device Setting, you can independently control the brightness of the Overdrive app and not use the NOOK's brightness setting.
  • Color Scheme: Color schemes are like NOOK themes in that this is where you determine the font and background colors when reading a book. When you tap this, you see a list of three options: Day, Night, and Sepia. Day uses black text on a white screen. Night uses white text on a black screen. Sepia uses brown text on a tan screen. Tap the one you want, and the screen changes.
  • Font Size: Tapping this opens a screen with a series of options related to the size of the font. The currently selected size has a white dot in a teal circle in the option. Tap the font size you want. The sample text, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog," gives you an idea of the size. When you tap the size you want, the menu disappears, and the text font changes size.
  • Font Style: When you tap this, a series of font style options appears. The currently selected style has a white dot in a teal circle in the option. You can choose Book Default to use whatever the publisher has determined is the optimal font. Alternatively, you can choose from your other options, which have a bit of sample text to give you an idea of what you will see. When you tap the font you want, the menu disappears, and the text font changes size.
  • Landscape Columns: This option determines how many columns of text you will have when you read in landscape mode (assuming you allow this). You have three options: One, Two, and Three. Tap the one you want.
  • Line Spacing: When you tap this, a series of line spacing options appears. Think of line spacing like single or double space. The currently selected style has a white dot in a teal circle in the option. You can choose Book Default to use whatever the publisher has determined is the optimal font. Alternatively, you can choose from your other options. When you tap the font you want, menu disappears and the text font changes size.
  • Margins: When you tap this, a series of margin options appears. This allows you to control how much white space appears around the right and left sides of the text. The currently selected margin has a white dot in a teal circle in the option. If you choose None, the text will go to the very edge of the screen. Alternatively, you can choose from your other options, which have a bit of sample text to give you an idea of what you will see. When you tap the font you want, menu disappears and the text font changes size.
  • Orientation: When you tap this, you can choose from Auto-Rotate, Portrait, and Landscape. This setting is independent of whether your Lock Orientation setting on the NOOK is On or Off. By default, Auto-Rotate is On. You can change it to lock it in either Portrait or Landscape mode.
  • Screen Timeout: When you tap this, the screen timeout (how long without any activity it takes for the screen to go dark) options appear. You can choose to use the Device Default, which means that whatever you set your NOOK's screen timeout time, Overdrive will use that setting. You can set a different screen timeout, however, that Overdrive uses: 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 20 minutes.
  • Default Layout (CSS): This option is a check box and opens no other screen. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, which is a techie term for defining font, line spacing, etc., characteristics. In this case, it is really referring to how the reading screen appears (see Figure 12). I recommend leaving this option on.
  • Figure 12 The image on the left has Default Layout (CSS) On while that on the right has that setting Off.

  • Page Animation: This option is a check box and opens no other screen; it is an entirely aesthetic option. When this option is On, when you page back and forth, you see the current page's text slide out of view. However, when this option is Off, when you page back and forth, the current page's text disappears and is replaced with the next page.
  • Page with Volume Keys: This option is a check box and opens no other screen. This option allows you to use the volume up and volume down buttons to advance or retreat the page, respectively. You can still swipe left or right to advance or use the volume buttons.

Using a Book's Share Options

As with so much of modern life today, social media seem omnipresent. Overdrive allows you to participate with your social media accounts directly from within Overdrive. You can share what you are reading via email, Facebook, Goodreads, or Twitter. When you tap this screen, you have several options: Email, Facebook, Goodreads, and Share Via.

When you tap Email, you may be offered other options (for example, I use Dropbox and Evernote, and those options appear), but to send via email, tap Email. This opens the NOOK email app with some prepopulated text (see Figure 13). Enter the email address you want to send this to and tap Send.

Figure 13 Share what you're reading via email.

When you tap Facebook, you see the Post to Wall screen (see Figure 14). Enter any additional text (this is optional) and tap Share.

Figure 14 Share what you're reading via Facebook.

When you tap Goodreads, you see the screen shown in Figure 15. You can give it a star rating if you'd like. Also, you can change the Goodreads list it is in. By default, Overdrive assumes the Read list.

Tap the drop-down arrow to the right of Read and choose Currently-Reading or To-Read if you'd rather put it in one of those lists. You can also enter a review if you'd like. When you are done entering any information you want, tap Add to Goodreads to add this book to your Goodreads list. Enter any additional text (this is optional) and tap Share.

Figure 15 Share what you're reading via Goodreads.

If you have a Twitter account, no need to fear. You can share what you're reading with Twitter. Tap the Share button and then tap Share Via. From here, you can tap Twitter, which opens a Tweet screen (see Figure 16). Modify this text if you want and tap Tweet when done.

Figure 16 Share what you're reading via Twitter.

Listening to an Audiobook

After you open an audiobook, you have a variety of options to control your listening experience. First, if you have started the audiobook, when you open it again, you will arrive at your last bookmark location. At the top of the screen, you have a number of options:

  • Player: This is the screen (see Figure 17) that appears when you open an audiobook. You'll see the standard audio controls: Go back 15 seconds, go back to the previous location (bookmark or part depending on how the audiobook is set up), Play/Pause, jump forward to the next location, and Add a Bookmark. If the audiobook is playing, you can control the location in this part of the audiobook by using the scrollbar at the bottom. Near the top of the cover, a volume control slide allows you to adjust the volume.
  • Bookmarks are important in audiobooks. If I forget to add a bookmark to a regular ebook, I can usually find where I was at pretty quickly. I find this more difficult with audiobooks. If you do not set a bookmark and close the app, when you return to it, the audiobook will begin where your last bookmark was.

    Figure 17 The Player screen

  • Navigation: Tap this tap to access detailed locations of the audiobook. This is the table of contents for the audiobook. You can tap the downward arrow to "explode" a part and see some detailed information (see Figure 18). Tap a part or location to jump to that part of the audiobook.
  • Figure 18 An audiobook's table of contents

  • Bookmarks: Tap this to display all the bookmarks in this audiobook. Tap the bookmark to jump to that location.
  • Share: Tap this to share what you're reading. See the "Using a Book's Share Options" section above, for the Share options for an audiobook are exactly the same as for an ebook.
  • Options: Provides a series of options related to the title. See the earlier section "Book Details Screen" to learn more about Details.
  • Tap Sleep Timer to set the device to go to sleep after a pre-designated time (see Figure 19). This is much like a Sleep timer on your TV. More importantly, it will help prevent the book from going beyond what you would like should you fall asleep while listening to your book. When you tap this option, you have several options. By default, the sleep timer is off. You can set it for one of three pre-defined times: 15, 30, and 60. Additionally, at the bottom, you can enter a custom time. Either tap in the box and enter a number or tap the plus or minus sign to set it.

    Figure 19 Setting the Sleep Timer settings

    If you tap Return/Delete, a screen pops up with three options: Return then Delete, Delete Only, Cancel. Tap Return then Delete if you are done with the book and want to return it to the library and remove it from all your Overdrive locations. Tap Delete Only to remove the title from this Overdrive location only. Tap Cancel to return to the reading screen.

    Tap Bookshelf to return to your bookshelf.

    Tap Downloads to go to the Downloads Queue, which shows all files currently being downloaded to your device.

    Tap All Bookmarks to jump to a screen that displays all the bookmarks you have added to any title in your bookshelf. You can tap a bookmark to jump to that location in any of the content (assuming you have downloaded it already). Tap the Back arrow to return to the reading screen.

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