Hey Quicksanders (is that a thing? Can I make it a thing?)! Today in all things bookishness, I want to talk about… subscription services. Sort of. Well, actually, I want to talk about an anti-subscription service. I know that a lot of you probably LOVE Audible, Kindle, and all the other amazing pay-to-play (pay-to-read) services, but I have a great love of my own.
Rakuten + OverDrive
Yeah, who knew? Rakuten has been like, not-so-secretly and REALLY not recently buying up my favourite companies (I’m looking at you Ebates) and creating this PR-friendly company that makes fun of itself in ads for being hard to spell. So yeah, they have had OverDrive since early 2015 and I just found out now. #latetotheparty
OverDrive is a free service (it’s an app) offered by your library or school that lets you borrow digital content. At this point, if you have a library card, there’s a good chance your library is connected to OverDrive. Over 16,000 public libraries and another 10,000 school libraries purchase their digital collections through Rakuten. Here’s where it gets really good.
Why You Should Get OverDrive
Some major PROs to OverDrive (and let me know in the comments if I missed some benefits you love):
- IT’S FREE. I’m a Millennial, I have no money. Not even $15 per month. You know that’s almost $200 a year? No thank you, I will take the free books please!
- You can put books on hold – even ones that haven’t been released yet. Right now, I’m on the waitlist for the newest Philip Pullman and Pearce Brown novels.
- You can pause your holds, and shift them out so that you don’t get 10 books coming to you all in the same week. Don’t worry, you won’t lose your place in line! You keep moving up in the order while on pause, it just won’t release the book to you.
- No having to go pick up or drop off books (they just expire if you don’t read them in time). Great for people with memory issues – no late fees ever again.
- Selection – ok, while not every library is as big as Hennepin County’s, chances are, your library and librarians are really tuned in. The digital collections are often just as stocked, if not more so, than the hard copy selections.
- Portable – I can take infinite books with me on vacation!! It’s amazing!!
Help A Mother Out (AKA the Part Where I Roast my Mom)
So, my mom is a Boomer. Now, don’t get me wrong, she’s FAR more tech savvy than my dad (who has not managed to learn how to operate a cell phone to call OR text at the time of writing this) but sometimes, things are hard. So one day this summer, my mom was lamenting how little reading she had been doing this year. She is on the go a TON, and sitting down to read just wasn’t at the top of her list. I asked her if she liked audiobooks, and she admitted that she really didn’t know how to access any. So I showed her the app on my IPad, and she was… ok I’m not going to lie, there was trepidation in those eyes. I know a cornered Boomer when I see her, and I took full advantage.
Here’s the thing. Downloading the app and connecting my mom’s library account to OverDrive took maybe 15 minutes? Another 10, if I’m being very hyperbolic, to show her how to search and add books. It has been so worth it to see her out in the garden, phone in pocket, listening to all of the political tell-alls that have been published this year. It has been even more worth it to be able to talk about books we’ve both read, and recommend that she put one on her list when I finish a good one.
Try it today if you haven’t already (and if you have, you’re probably as hooked as I am). And for goodness sake, help your wizened and aged* individuals out as well!!
*Please note, my mother looks not aged/wizened but instead quite youthful. She even has to periodically remind me that she was, in fact, not born yesterday.