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While I absolutely love reading the printed novel, I’ve been trying to explore the reading experience in different formats. I can see the advantages to both audiobooks and reading on my phone, but I can’t say either form has really won me over and pulled me away from printed books. Still, I don’t want to write off the digital form completely, so I decided to take a look at a form my library has to offer – OverDrive.
Now I know OverDrive has been around for a couple of years, but I hadn’t really been exposed to it. It wasn’t until I was trying to get a book from the library that I really looked into it. The book had a massive waiting list, but I noticed that the e-book had a much shorter wait. It intrigued me that I could get the e-book first, so I placed my hold for the digital copy.
Reading with a Laptop
I have to be honest, the idea of reading a book on a laptop seems really unappealing. Sitting in my desk chair is one of the last places I want to try to read a book – I usually go for more comfy places like a couch or bed. Plus while curling up with a book is quite easy, a laptop can be quite cumbersome and awkward to hold. Still, I wanted to give it a try.
Surprisingly, reading on a laptop is not as bad as it seems. I’m so used to using my laptop on the couch anyway that “curling up” with it was actually kind of natural. Plus I do a lot of reading on it to begin with – the news, social media, etc – that switching over to a novel was a much easier transition than I thought it would be. In reality, all of my negative thoughts towards reading on a laptop were unsubstantiated and the experience felt 100% normal.
OverDrive on a Laptop
The really nice part about using OverDrive on a laptop is the easy set up. You simply have to borrow a book in OverDrive Read format. The book opens up in your browser and you can start reading right away, or you can download it to read offline. I was blown away with how simple and easy it was, and how fast! Getting a book from the library has never felt so smooth.
Once you’re into the book, I love the ease of using OverDrive to read. I simply had to use the arrow keys to navigate through the book. This made me really happy, because reaching over and tapping a button is quick and easy, and I didn’t have to keep my laptop directly in front of me or use a mouse to navigate, etc. I was able to set the computer beside me on the couch, or even on the coffee table, and just tap to get to the next page. In this sense I was able to curl up with the laptop to read.
I also really enjoyed the different settings that OverDrive offers, including different contrasts and letter size. Plus the progress bar is actually nice to use. While I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of progress bars, I find this one better to look at. It’s more like a ruler, and I find sliding along the marked bar much easier. I also like that when you place bookmarks, they’re very easy to find on the ruler and slide to. I have to say, the usability of the book really won me over and I enjoyed how easy it was.
I am surprised by how easily I adapted to my computer. I was able to forget that I was reading on a laptop and get lost in the book – and that’s really important to me. All in all, it was a pretty successful reading experience. While there are obvious drawbacks to reading on a laptop – mostly portability and heat – I’m definitely not against reading in this format – especially if it means beating long wait lists!