“But it doesn’t work on iPods,” has been our refrain ever since we introduced Downloadable Audiobooks. Traditionally, iPod devices have not worked with our Netlibrary or Overdrive services because they use the Apple copy-protection format .AAC instead of the Windows codec, .WMA.

Now, both services have introduced books that are compatible with iPod, but each works differently.

mp3MP3 files have no copy-protection, so they are compatible with any MP3 player (Creative, Archos, SanDisk, etc.), including iPods. Many MP3 audiobooks are now available from both Overdrive and Netlibrary.

In addition, Overdrive now allows some of the WMA books to be converted to the iPod-friendly AAC format.


To access this feature, you must download the latest version of Overdrive Media Console 3.2 from the library web site:

http://www.library.nashville.org » Books Movies Music » Audiobook Help » OverDrive Media Console


  • Check the icon chart to see if your book is compatible (see images above for examples).
  • Plug in your iPod to your PC before you download the book.
  • iPod-friendly WMA books do not work with Overdrive on the Mac OS, only Windows XP or Vista.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1. Use NetLibrary or OverDrive to find an iPod-friendly audiobook.

2. Download the book to your computer. Or, if you’ve already downloaded audiobooks, find a colleague who needs help.

If you have any problems, ask for help in the comments.


Last week we had a refresher course on using NetLibrary with Windows Media Center. This week, we’re going to learn how to use a different software program to find and download NetLibrary audiobooks.

NetLibrary Media Center is free software that will allow you to browse, download and transfer NetLibrary audiobooks all in one program. Once you’ve downloaded the software, you do not have to visit netlibrary.com again.

Here’s how it works:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1. Download and install NetLibrary Media Center. If you are unable to complete this, please contact ITS.

2. Use NetLibrary Media Center to find an audiobook.

3. Download an audiobook. If you have an mp3 player, transfer the book to your player.

4. If you have any problems, ask for help in the comments.

Maybe you’ve successfully downloaded an audiobook from NetLibrary. Maybe using NetLibrary drives you mad. If it makes you feel any better, your friendly web-team members fall into both camps. Some days it is a breeze and other days you want to bang your head on the wall.

NetLibrary has made some changes recently, so this week is a refresher course on downloading audiobooks. Here’s the skinny:

NetLibrary offers WMA and MP3 audiobooks.

  • WMA means they cannot be played on an iPod.
  • MP3 books can be played on an iPod.

You will need software to use NetLibrary.

  • Windows Media Player
  • NetLibrary Media Center

You must register for an account with NetLibrary before you can check out a book.

NetLibrary how-to: step by step

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1. Download a NetLibrary audiobook.

2. If you have an mp3 player, transfer the book to your player.

3. If you have any problems, ask for help in the comments.

New in Overdrive: Video and iPod-friendly audiobooks!

Overdrive has recently added mp3 audiobooks to its lineup. These mp3 audiobooks do not have the Digital Rights Management encoding (DRM) that made them incompatible with  iPods.

You’ll also find full-length movies and short films available for download! If you have a Windows computer and a Windows device, you can download movies and watch them on the go. Or, if you have an iPod like us, you can download movies and watch them on your Windows computer.

In case you missed the Intranet post, here’s a quick list of must-know information:

If you have a Windows computer and an iPod, iPhone, or iSomething-else, you will need:

  • Overdrive Media Player for Windows (version 3 or higher)
  • iTunes (turn on “manually manage music” in the settings)
  • QuickTime (version 7.4.5 or newer)
  • Windows Vista or Windows XP

If you have a Mac computer and an iPod, iPhone, or iAnything, you will need:

  • Overdrive Media Player for Mac (version 1 or higher)
  • iTunes (turn on “manually manage music” in the settings)
  • QuickTime (version 7.4.5 or newer)
  • Mac computers do not have to have Windows installed

Library members who already use Overdrive will probably be asked to download a new version of the software in order to use mp3 audiobooks. That prompt will appear once they click on the downloaded file saved to the desktop.

Last but not least, you’ll need to know the name of your book because it is listed under Songs by title.

Did you hear there are also Downloadable Movies?

First, an apology to iPod users. DRM is still encoded on each video, so you cannot download or play videos with Apple devices.

If you have a Windows computer and a Windows device, you can download movies and watch them on the go. Or, if you have an iPod like us, you can download movies and watch them on your Windows computer not on the go.

To download and watch videos, you will need:

  • Windows computer
  • OverDrive Media Player for Windows v2.0 (or newer) – longtime users may need to upgrade to version 2
  • Windows Media® Player 9 Series (or newer)
  • DRM friendly mobile device (optional) – see compatible players list for details

How will I know if my device will play audiobooks? Or movies?

If you want to know if your device is compatible with audio/video content, view the list of compatible devices. You can sort by device or by format to quickly find out if your device is compatible.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Go to Overdrive and find a book or video.
2. Checkout the item and download it to your computer. Play a little bit of the book/video.
3. Leave any questions in the comments section of the blog.
4. Take the survey.

Earlier this year, I went on a long road trip with my friend, Jill, and I thought I would bring along some audiobooks. I borrowed three on CD and two on cassette, and I ended up with two grocery bags full of audiobooks to keep up with! When I picked her up, said she brought ten audiobooks of her own because she could not choose. “No way. Where will we have room for ten audiobooks, Jill?” I asked, pointing to the grocery bags of CD and cassette boxes. Then, Jill held up her mp3 player, smaller than a deck of cards. Man, I knew I should have checked out this downloadable audiobook thing!

Top Ten Reasons To Use Digital Audio books

  1. No one has ever lost one under the seat of their car.
  2. Put a dozen books on your mp3 player.
  3. You can’t remember what track you’re on in your book on CD.
  4. Learn how to pronounce names from the Harry Potter series.
  5. Digital Bookmarks are hard to misplace.
  6. They take themselves back to the library.
  7. Your cat likes stories, too.
  8. Kind of like radio, without traffic and weather.
  9. Large Print was checked out.
  10. The library will not call looking for missing tape number five.
Digital Audiobooks Activity:1. Find your library’s Overdrive collection:

2. Checkout and download a digital audio book from Overdrive.*

3. Tell us how it went in the Audio Books forum.

Do you have any questions?

Discuss them in the Digital Audiobooks Forum.

*If you’ve really tried, but you’re unable to complete the exercise due to restrictions on your library computers, you can still get credit for this exercise. The summer is hot enough. We don’t want to make you sweat.

To kick off March Apps Mania, we would like to introduce our first guest blogger! Bryan Jones, of Main-Popular Materials, will introduce this weeks apps.

Did you first consider working in a library because you loved books? The Internet has enhanced the way book lovers interact with books. The web is a great place to buy books and access your library’s catalog from home. Now there are many more book-related web applications where book lovers gather to share, swap, and talk about their favorite books.

Besides nurturing our bibliophilia, these web applications can help us with readers’ advisory. Let’s take a quick overview of some book-based web applications and see what fun and useful things they can do.


goodreads.jpgGoodreads is a social network that lets you keep track of all the books you have read, are currently reading, or want to read in the future. You can rate the books you have read and write reviews. You can create your own categories to sort your books; e.g., nonfiction, genres, graphic novels. By becoming online friends with people you know, or others that have similar reading interests, you can find out what like-minded people are reading. Because you can write reviews and comment on books, dialogues form about the books you love, or perhaps more fun, books you hate. Goodreads also keeps track of what books are most popular, most unpopular, and most reviewed. You can also start or join groups about specific authors or genres. If you are a private person, your profile can be totally private, and be used as a way to sort your personal library.


librarything.jpgMuch like Goodreads, LibraryThing lets you catalog your personal library or connect with other readers. You can keep track of all the books you own, rate them, and organize them by keyword (tag). LibraryThing markets itself to those with slightly higher standards of bibliographic control. When you add your books you can import entries from 252 bibliographic databases, including the Library of Congress (Goodreads relies on user data and Amazon.com). If you choose to make your profile public you can join groups and share recommendations. You can tag authors as your favorites and then be given read-a-likes.


bookmooch1.jpgFor those more interested in physical objects than electronic ones there is BookMooch, an online book trading site. When you register with BookMooch, you create a list of books you are willing to give away, and a list of books you want sent to you. When you give a book away you get points added to your account. When you request a book you get points taken away. All you pay in this transaction are the shipping fees. It is a simple, brilliant idea. If you choose, you can also give your points away to the many charities that have BookMooch accounts. This helps put books in the hands of people that need them the most.


swaptree.jpgSwapTree is a lot like BookMooch, only you can trade music, movies, and video games as well as books. Start by making a list of things you want and a list of things you are willing to trade. SwapTree automatically matches the items you are willing to trade with people that have things that you want and want what you have. You can add items to your willing to trade list by entering the UPC or ISBN number. A list of matching trades is instantly generated. SwapTree also lets you create or join groups of traders that live/work in the same place or have similar interests. Why pay shipping when you can exchange items in the break room at work?


librivox.jpgToday we’ve talked about where to go to catalog your books, meet people who like the same books, and trade books. You might be asking, where’s the free stuff? The free stuff is on LibriVox! LibriVox offers free downloads of audiobooks created from texts that are in the public domain. Generally, this means anything published in the United States before 1923. All of the files are available in .mp3 and .ogg formats, which play in nearly all portable media devices. The organizers of LibriVox are attempting to systematically create recordings of all books in the public domain. Volunteers read texts which are then uploaded to the site. If you want to volunteer, just sign up and see what texts they need readers for. Editors oversee the project for quality control.

We’ve covered a lot of ground today, but some of these applications may be more familiar than you think. If you shop at Amazon.com you can use the account you already have to create a profile with functionality similar to Goodreads or LibraryThing. If you find you like one site better than another, it is easy to import all your books to and from.

– Bryan Jones

LibraryThing | Goodreads | BookMooch | SwapTree | LibriVox

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Try out one ONE of the Book apps (Register, if necessary).
2. Take the survey.
3. In the comments, tell us how libraries might use book apps.

    Dear Peabody,
    I got a book from NetLibrary and was prepared to answer questions, then someone asked me about something called Overdrive! What’s Overdrive? It is something for iPods?

    Dear Stella,
    Overdrive is another way to get digital audiobooks. Library users can download audiobooks from home using two services: NetLibrary and Overdrive. They can listen to either on their PC or mp3 players (no iPods).

    Dear Peabody,
    Overdrive doesn’t look anything like NetLibrary. How do I download a book?

    Dear Stella,
    NetLibrary and Overdrive do look different. And the process is a little different too. Maybe this nifty chart will help clear things up.

    NetLibrary Overdrive
    Books can be checked out by more than one person at a time. Only one person can check out and download a book at a time.
    Books are downloaded as one large file. Books are divided into several small files.
    Cannot be downloaded on library computers. Cannot be downloaded on library computers.
    You only need Windows Media Player. You have to have special Overdrive software.
    Must have a library card number to
    sign up for an account, then you don’t need it again.
    Must have a library card number each time you check out a book.
    Cannot burn audiobooks to CD. CAN burn audiobooks to CD.
    One part per CD. And the CDs don’t expire!

    p.s. Here’s another exercise that might help you. Look for the audiobooks link on the library website to get started:

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
    1. Go to the audiobooks page on the library website.
    2. Go to Overdrive and find a book.
    3. Checkout the book and download the book to your computer. Play a little bit of the book.
    4. Leave any questions in the comments section of the blog.
    5. Take the survey.