Calgary Public Library: How to check-out iphone audiobooks


There is too much to know about checking out digital material from the Calgary library system to do it quickly, easily and without frustration. This is unfortunate but it’s a free, publicly funded resource and I’ve learned that we can’t be too critical.

Here’s a quick tutorial on checking out and downloading an audio book. Reading this will save you several hours!

Step 1

Download the Overdrive media Console app on your phone
This application is free on the app store and connects to your library account. It’s used to download, manage and play any media you choose to check-out. Once you download the app, add the Calgary Public Library to your list of libraries. It should be noted that you cannot use media from the library in any other way – just through Overdrive.

During use of this application you will find that it often displays chapter information erroneously, for example, you’ll often encounter books with multiple chapters 2s or 3s. It can also not be counted on to properly display the length of a chapter you are listening to. You may never learn to truly love Overdrive. I’m sorry in advance.

Step 2

Login to the Library website on your phone and open the website on your computer
Despite the fact that you will be checking out the media on your mobile device, finding the book you want to listen to is best done on a larger screen with a keyboard and mouse. But, before you do anything, make sure you are logged in on your phone. This will save time later in this process.

Step 3

Search Wisely
The Library website has some misleading navigation options. Don’t click on “e-library” this takes you to a list of some online resources that do not include downloadable items. Also, don’t use the regular catalogue to search for audio books – it returns results that are too varied. Instead, click here. This takes you to the advanced search tool for the good stuff. This section of the website is more difficult to find and doesn’t share the same navigational menu as the other parts of the website. Bookmark it.

I often find that the books I am interested in are not available because they are checked out. With this being the case, you have to decide whether you want to listen to a book now or later. If you want a book now, check the box “Only show titles with copies available”. If you want a book later or are just browsing for something to put on hold, leave this box un-checked.

Step 4

Find the Right Type of Audio
Overdrive Media Console for the iphone will only allow you to play MP3 audio books for sure. WMV files – maybe, maybe not*. These are the two types of audio books the library offers. As of February 2012, the library has a selection of 3,072 MP3 audio books. You can browse all compatible books by selecting “Overdrive MP3 audiobook” from the format dropdown menu and press “search”. Alternatively, you can add the title or author of the book you are looking for into the corresponding search fields and search for MP3 books this way too. You will know you have found a compatible book by the icons that are displayed in the search results. If the MP3 icon is bright, you can use it on your iphone.

* Confusion surrounds the topic of compatible audio files. It seems like if you have a windows formatted iphone you may be able to play MWV files. If you have a mac formatted iphone you cannot. You may want to experiment with this.

Step 5

Send the Link to Yourself
When you have finished your book research, copy the URL of the book you want to listen to and send it to an e-mail account you have access to on your iphone. Open the message on your phone, click the link and this will take you to the item in Safari. Because you are already logged in just click on “add to cart” and complete the check-out procedure. Done!

Enjoy your audio book! Any other tips or tricks about using the Library website or Overdrive, add ‘em in the comments.