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Review: Overdrive Media Console

You might recall that a couple days ago I posted about Sync and their free audiobook downloads. I realized while while writing that post that I’d never tried the app (I have an aversion to DRM and lock-in). When it comes to audiobooks, Overdrive are one of the leading platforms (along with Audible). It’s past time that I familiarized myself with the app.


Overdrive are the one of the leading media distributors in both audiobooks and ebooks for both retail and libraries. The Overdrive Media Console is an app that you can use to download and play DRMed audiobooks from your library. You can get it on quite a few platforms (Windows, OSX, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, iPhone).


I tried the app on my iPod Touch and on an Android tablet. Aside from the differences in the OSes, the apps were basically identical. Neither was all that pleasant to use. If I were not forced to use this app in order to download audiobooks from my public library then I would use something else. As a media player, it’s not very good.

The first problem I encountered is that most of the audiobooks at my library are in WMA format, not MP3. The OMC only supports MP3, which means I can only use about 200 titles out of a 1,500 title collection.

This next problem didn’t occur to me until I had the app running on 2 devices. The OMC doesn’t support browsing your library’s audiobooks from inside the app. You have to use an external web browser to search for and download the audiobooks. Fortunately, my library has a mobile friendly audiobook site (I suspect it was provided by Overdrive). I am very grateful because the rest of the library’s website is most emphatically not mobile friendly.

I’m not pleased with the design of the menus. You can download and play an audiobook in parts. This is good, but first you have to find the download menu. It’s not in an obvious location. Another problem I found is that the Android UI just doesn’t work on a small screen. It really needs to be rew0rked.

Where to get it

You can download most of the Media console apps (Windows, OSX, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile) from Overdrive. The iPhone app is in the App Store.

Does your local library support ebooks or audiobooks? You can find out at Overdrive.

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