Sync Summer Reads to Phones and Tablets

Access e-books and audiobooks through a new Duke Libraries service

Duke employees and students can now check out e-books and audiobooks to their personal mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. The service, OverDrive, also allows users to recommend digital content to Duke Libraries.

Duke Libraries patrons can now download e-books and audiobooks to personal mobile devices, including iPhones, iPads, NOOKs, Android phones and tablets, and Kindles.

The new service, called Duke OverDrive, went live in May, and 158 e-books and 132 audiobooks are available for patrons to enjoy on computers and devices, said Bill Verner, head of order management in the Duke Libraries acquisitions department.

“It’s gotten quite a bit of use really since the get-go, and we encouraged staff to use it straight out of the gate so they can familiarize themselves with it and work with patrons,” Verner said. “We’ve seen a lot of circulation. I don’t know if there’s anything we’ve brought in that hasn’t circulated at least once.”

Through the OverDrive partnership between Duke Libraries and the Ford Library at the Duke Fuqua School of Business, Duke faculty, staff and students with a Duke NetID can borrow up to five e-books at a time on OverDrive, and the downloaded content automatically expires after 21 days. Patrons can search for a title in the general Duke Libraries catalog, and the OverDrive editions of e-books and audiobooks will appear in search results.

Last summer, Libraries staff members began to research provider services that would enhance the e-reader program, which provides Kindle devices for check out. The Libraries can only offer a limited number of Kindles for patrons, Verner said, and titles loaded onto each borrowed Kindle aren’t available to anyone else until the device is returned. Also, if Kindles break or if every device is checked out, library users are out of luck.

If patrons are looking for a specific e-book title and it isn’t available, they can recommend the title  on the OverDrive website to Duke Libraries, which will put the requested e-books on a wish list and purchase them when funds become available.

“OverDrive allows for an easier experience for patrons and a way that they can more easily interact with us and make recommendations about the content that they want,” Verner added. “I think it’s a good way to anticipate our patrons’ needs rather than wondering what they need next.”

The Ford Library offers about 100 business-related audiobooks on OverDrive, such as “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell and “Predictably Irrational” by Duke Fuqua professor Dan Ariely.

“Our audiobooks are oriented to the business professional, but also appeal more widely,” said Meg Trauner, the director of Ford Library.  “It’s not just corporate finance. You can learn to make better decisions or to understand your boss or coworkers."

Fuqua students in the Weekend Executive Master of Business Administration program find OverDrive audiobooks especially beneficial as they listen in the car during a long commute, she said.

“Students hone their management skills by reading professional books,” Trauner said. “Audiobooks are books they can read while they’re not really reading.”

Lynne O’Brien, associate vice provost for digital and online education initiatives, also travels frequently in her role at Duke, on both domestic and international trips.  She is one of the first library patrons to use OverDrive and started by reading the freshman summer reading pick “Americanah” on her iPad Mini.

“I love paper books; if I have the choice of reading one, I will,” O’Brien said. “But I also travel a lot, so having several books on a lightweight device that’s easy to carry with me is much more convenient than print books for travel.”