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OverDrive Brings Audiobooks to the Web Browser

overdrive logoOverDrive has just made it easier to listen to the audiobooks you check out of your local library.

The Rakuten-owned library ebook and audiobook distributor announced on Wednesday the launch of OverDrive Listen, a new web app which lets you listen to audiobooks in your web browser.

Patrons can now browse their libraries catalog on the OverDrive website, check out an audiobook, and (if a publisher allows) immediately stream it in their web browser. OD Listen supports the same basic features as OverDrive Media Console, including bookmarks, jumping between chapters, variable playback speed, and more.

overdrive listenOverDrive Listen works on Windows, OSX, and on Chromebooks, and you can see an example at right.

According to the support pages, the app will also work on Safari on iOS 7 or above, and it works in Chrome on Android 4.1 and above. Curiously, the app is not compatible with either Kindle or Nook devices – not even if you have Chrome installed. (I would double check this detail except Google is being difficult about letting me download Chrome to my Fire HD.)

I’ve been testing OD Listen this morning on my Windows laptop, and it works pretty well. It doesn’t like being stopped frequently, but that is not a defect so much as it is a sign that I should stop fiddling.

All in all this will prove useful on PCs, but not so much on mobile devices. When using OD content on the latter, one is more likely to be browsing and accessing the content from an app. Whereas on a PC, I find that I spend more time in the web browser (I don’t even have OverDrive Media Console installed).

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Concerned Librarian May 21, 2015 um 10:15 am

This coincides with the removal of the WMA format…which in generally good except for the fact not all publishers approved a format shift to MP3. This essentially has meant that previously purchased audio books that are only in WMA have now been removed from the collection. A token amount of compensation has been offered but it doesn’t bring back the titles.

Nate Hoffelder May 21, 2015 um 10:28 am

Have they been removed? My library was still listing the WMA audiobooks yesterday, and I even checked one out.

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