An Ode to Library Ebook Lending Apps

Troy L. Wiggins

Staff Writer

Troy L. Wiggins is from Memphis, Tennessee. He was raised on a steady diet of comic books, fantasy fiction, and role-playing games. His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Griots: Sisters of the Spear, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History, The Afrikana Review, Literary Orphans, and Memphis Noir. When he's not tweeting @TroyLWiggins, he finds time to update his blog, Afrofantasy, where he writes about the intersection of speculative fiction, race, and nerd culture. He has found his way back to Memphis, and he currently lives there with his wife and their tiny expuptriate. Blog: Troy L. Wiggins Twitter: @TroyLWiggins

overdrive logoLike most of you, I have a lot of stuff going on–work, relationships, hot wing eating contests, giant robot battles–and there’s never a shortage of fantastic works of fiction falling out of the sky for me to read. It almost seems as if writers and publishers don’t care about my busy schedule. If I put one more magazine on my bookshelves, they’re going to come to life and demand that I pay them a living wage. I have a lot of things going on, and no time or space to visit the bookstore or the library and vacillate over which one of the five hundred books I want to read will be volunteered as tribute to my eyeballs.

I’ve long done most of my reading on my smartphone or tablet. For me, this makes sense. My phone is never too far away from my hand (gotta get these tweets off), and I have all of the reading apps installed there already. It also only makes sense that I, instead of spending my tiny amount of free nickels in ebook markets, check out ebooks from the library using their nifty free apps. Except, up until about two and a half weeks ago, I didn’t know that those apps existed.

Imagine my surprise, then, going to my library’s website and seeing that there was a whole suite of applications designed specifically for me to check out ebooks through my local library. And not just ebooks, but audiobooks for those days when I don’t have the mental bandwidth for podcasts. And the process to actually get these apps on my phone, get signed up for them, and start reading my favorite books was not nearly as painful as I thought it would be. Score one for accessible tech. OverDrive is my new best friend, BookMyne is the homie, and I’m inviting OneClickDigital over for dinner.

I still drop into the library and check out physical books because no one has bottled Book Smell yet (get on that, someone), and I’ll still drop a few dimes in the collection plate of an author that I love–or one who’s written a particularly amazing piece of work. But for my casual enjoyment reading, or for those times when I want to step foot into a new writer’s work, these apps are invaluable.

Do you use mobile apps to access your library’s collection? If so, which ones do you enjoy using?