Kindle Fire-usable version of OverDrive now in Amazon app store—and a new iOS version offers all-text bold, multiple columns, other capabilities

OverDrive iOS boldA Kindle Fire-usable version of the OverDrive e-library app has now reached the Amazon app store.

That could give the app’s Android version a nice boost—the Fire is essentially an Android machine turned into an Amazon cash register. Fire owners earlier had to go to the OverDrive site to download the app unofficially.

But for me personally the big news is optional all-text bolding in the OverDrive app for iPads, iPhones and Touches. So many library fans have their own wish lists of accessibility features, and full bolding led mine since I cherish an extra-high-contrast view for reading e-books, even on LCD displays.

Earlier in 2012 OverDrive obliged with optional bold fonts for the Android version, and now it is out with similar goodies for the Apple devices—in fact, not just all-text bold but also multicolumn capability, just as does the Android incarnation. Among the other upgrades in the new iOS version is an “in-app browser” for “OverDrive-powered sites,” which, although not quite Kindle-seamless, means you can go from a Web view back to your bookshelf with one effortless tap. No need to clutter things up with a new browser window.

Unfortunately, the new iOS version does not let me vary the line spacing as much as I’d like, and it would be wonderful if OverDrive and other library app providers, including the ever-innovative Douglas County Libraries, offered text to speech capabilities for books allowing this. In all library apps, I’d also welcome the ability to close gaps between paragraphs in books, using indentation to show the starts of new ones.

Still, OverDrive’s new wrinkles are definite progress. Click on the screenshot for a more detailed view of the all-text bolding and multiple column capabilities in action.

Of interest to the more tech-savvy libarians, OverDrive says "v2.6" of the OverDrive Media Console, as the e-library app is called, "employs Google Analytics to compile anonymous usage data, which will help us as we develop future versions of the app. Please note, OMC does not collect personally identifiable information, and the app enables users to opt out of sending anonymous usage data."

Detail: Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader tells me that “Actually they allowed OverDrive onto the KF. The app was already in the App store.” I appreciated Nate’s reminder of the nuance, ignored by the OverDrive blog; but the bottom line is still the same—the app is easier to obtain than before for Fire owners. I’ve changed “Fire-compatible” to “Fire-usable”—in an app store context—in the headline and text.

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